Lawyer Says She Failed Owen Labrie | NECN
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Lawyer Says She Failed Owen Labrie

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    Owen Labrie, the New Hampshire prep school grad accused of raping a classmate, is seeking a new trial, and one of his former attorneys testified Wednesday, saying "the train was off the tracks" during the previous trial.

    (Published Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017)

    During day two of a former New Hampshire student's hearing for a new trial, former attorneys delivered some powerful testimony.

    The high profile rape case against St. Paul's School graduate Owen Labrie made national headlines. In 2015, Labrie was charged with misdemeanor sex assault, but was acquitted on those felony forcible rape charges. Labrie was also charged with a felony for using a computer to lure an underage girl for sex.

    Wednesday's testimony started with his local counsel, Jaye Rancourt, on the stand, admitting her own failures during his trial.

    "No question, I should've come in the courtroom and told your honor there is a huge problem and trial shouldn't go on," she said.

    Rancourt was hired as co-counsel in 2015 by Owen Labrie's lead attorney, JW Carney, but was excused right before the trial started. On the stand Wednesday, she claimed Carney and his team were often unprepared for trial.

    "The way I describe it as, the train was off the tracks," she said.

    Labrie's new attorney, Robin Melone, is seeking a new trial using Rancourt to try and prove ineffective counsel. The prosecution asked Rancourt why she never spoke up.

    "I didn't want to scare him," she said. "Honest answer, I didn't want to freak him out."

    Prosecutor Katherine Ruffle called her first witness Wednesday afternoon. Carney's co-counsel, Sam Zaganjori, took the stand. He says the defense team did everything it could, making sure other, possibly damning, evidence was never admitted at trial.

    "There had been reports of potentially arguably inappropriate conduct with at least two other females, and we didn't want to open the door to that," he explained. "That was the main concern."

    During cross examination late Wednesday, Zaganjori was asked about his experience with New Hampshire law. He said this was the first time he had ever tried a case in the Granite State.

    When NBC Boston asked Ruffle whether she plans to put Carney on the stand, she said her team hadn't yet decided.

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