The trial for an Arizona man who sold ammunition to the Route 91 Harvest festival gunman will be held in Las Vegas, a federal judge ruled this week.
Douglas Haig’s lawyers had asked to have his trial, scheduled for later this year, set in Reno instead of Las Vegas. Haig is accused of selling reloaded rounds to the gunman ahead of the Oct. 1, 2017, attack, and he faces one count of manufacturing ammunition without a license.
U.S. District Judge James Mahan rejected the request “because pretrial publicity does not preclude the court from seating a fair and impartial jury in the Southern Division of Nevada.”
The judge also decided in an order handed down Tuesday that jurors would only be selected from among roughly 1.75 million people around Las Vegas rather than from the entire state.
“Haig has not provided any concrete grounds showing that pretrial publicity of (the mass shooting) affected prospective jurors in the Southern Division of Nevada differently than prospective jurors in the Northern Division of Nevada,” Mahan wrote. “The court recognizes that the mass shooting may have directly impacted some individuals residing in the Southern Division of Nevada. However, jury selection procedures will allow the court to eliminate those individuals if they are unable to serve as fair and impartial jurors… The court is confident that the Southern Division of Nevada … contains at least fourteen fair and impartial prospective jurors.”
In a previous ruling, Mahan proposed that potential jurors be asked a set of questions about whether they attended Route 91 or knew anyone who did, and whether they could be fair and impartial in a case in which the defendant manufactured some or all of the ammunition that the gunman used that night.
Haig’s attorney and federal prosecutors agreed to the idea.
Defense lawyers have unsuccessfully tried to transfer his case to the District of Arizona, centered in the Phoenix area where he lives.
In the latest request, Haig’s attorney argued that even those who did not attend Route 91 and did not know anyone who did may still have been affected by the massacre, which left 58 dead and hundreds more wounded.