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Huguely may seek retrial

Media attorney requests documents

Defense attorneys for former University student George Huguely indicated Friday they plan to seek retrial, following the jury's decision Feb. 22 to convict Huguely of the second-degree murder of former University student and ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love.

During a hearing concerning the public release of evidence from the 13-day long trial, the lawyers asked the Charlottesville District Court to set aside time for a hearing on a motion for retrial.

Huguely, who currently faces 26 years in prison, appeared in court alongside his attorneys wearing a black-and-white striped jumpsuit.

Media attorney Robert Yates, on behalf of several media organizations, filed a motion for Friday's hearing. Yates requested the court release the medical charts, diagrams, autopsies, text messages and photographs of Love's body referenced in last month's trial. The media had no access to most of the documents during the trial itself.

"It is not unreasonable to ask the Court to allow inspection of the documents," Yates said. "We simply want to inspect the documents, not copy them."

Huguely's attorneys, however, said they were concerned it was too early to release evidence to the public, especially if the case could be tried again.

Yates said the evidence, if released, would only be inspected, not published. The defense attorneys, however, said they thought the information might spread quickly on the Internet.

"I know there are a lot of irresponsible journalists, paving the way for libel and slander," defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana said. "We're in a strong world of no truth and no accountability of court limits access to media. George Huguely has [a] Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial and we need to take our time to figure out the trial's evidence."

Quagliana said the release of the evidence would jeopardize Huguely's chances for future appeal.

"It's not mere speculation that we might end up back here, trying this case again... and if [the] trial's evidence is made public, seating a jury in the future will absolutely get worse," Quagliana said.

The attorneys also discussed dates for sentencing hearings. Frances Lawrence, Huguely's other defense attorney, pushed to extend the date to August.

"We are passionate about taking all the time necessary for sentencing and August seems like the most likely time to go through with it.

Quagliana said the later date would allow the attorneys enough time to prepare for the hearing.

"We are not trying to drag this out, but we need a reasonable date for sentencing," Quagliona said. "Four weeks isn't enough to prepare."

Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman, however, said it would be "awfully remote to drag it out until August."

Judge Edward Hogshire gave Yates two weeks to file his plan and create a proposal detailing a method for making the evidence available which addressed the concerns raised.

The judge and attorneys will have at least two weeks to review Yates' proposal before a follow-up hearing.