NEW ORLEANS — A retired New Orleans
police captain has been contemplating a defamation lawsuit against an
attorney who accused him of tampering with evidence at a murder
Attorney John Fuller is accused of making the alleged defamatory
statements. Fuller has provided representation for Cardell Hayes, who
was convicted of second-degree murder in the Will Smith murder trial.
During the preliminary hearing in April, Fuller claimed to have
evidence that William Ceravolo had tampered with evidence at the
“The private investigator David Olasky testified
in the prelim that he had a witness that saw my client go into the
car and do something,” Tanya Picou Faia, Ceravolo’s
attorney, told the Louisiana Record.
indicate the witness claimed to have seen Ceravolo remove a gun from
Smith’s vehicle after minutes after the shooting. Ceravolo was said
to have dined with Smith at Sake Café the night of Smith’s death.
Faia called the accusations “disgusting and horrific” and said the allegations didn’t just come from the
“Mr. Fuller made the allegations many times in the
press that my client planted a gun, moved the gun, or wiped the gun,
or concealed the gun. It just depended on what news organization he
was talking to and what day,” she said.
Faia said it was
Fuller’s media appearances that tipped her off to preserve video
evidence that showed Ceravolo was at the Windsor Court Hotel at the
same time he was allegedly at the crime scene.
“The only reason
I knew to do that was because Mr. Fuller had been saying in the press
that a police officer had gone in the car and moved a gun. That had
been going on for weeks before the trial,” she said.
attorneys initially refused to identify their witness to anyone,
including the FBI. However, Criminal District Judge Camille Buras
ordered the witness to be named. Following the judge’s order,
Fuller and Olasky identified her as Warnisha “Weedy” Hudson, but
she was not called to testify.
Olaksy also told the court that he
had not recorded audio or video of the discussion he had with Hudson,
something Faia said was unprofessional. She said she uses PI on a
regular basis and “Never have they ever interviewed a witness for
me without at least writing a report.”
The accusations caused
the New Orleans Police Department to reassign Ceravolo, a move said
to be intended to preserve the integrity of the investigation into
the Smith shooting.
Faia said her client had been examining his
options with regards to a libel lawsuit against Fuller but indicated she would not be representing Ceravolo in the
matter, as it was not her area of expertise.
Hayes was found
guilty on Dec. 11 of manslaughter in the shooting of Smith, a retired
Saints player. It took the jury six hours to reach its decision.
Fuller did not respond to requests for comment.