Not many moments at last week’s 67th Annual Emmy Awards were more heartfelt than Tracy Morgan’s surprise appearance to present the award for outstanding drama series.
Though many were touched by the unexpected moment, there is one individual who was not a fan of the speech Morgan gave about his amazing recovery from injuries suffered in the June 2014 accident that injured the former 30 Rock star and three others, in addition to killing Morgan’s friend and fellow comedian James McNair.
Attorney David Jay Glassman, who represents Kevin Roper, the Walmart truck driver involved in the accident, spoke out against Morgan’s speech via a statement and said it could influence future juries against his client:
This is exactly what happens when a prosecutor and a judge allow parties to dictate what’s important and control the proceedings. Clearly, the last thing on the mind of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey Federal District Court Judge who permitted Morgan’s civil case to supersede the pending criminal proceedings, was Mr. Roper’s constitutional rights, including the right to have his guilt or innocence decided in a courtroom, as opposed to by the national media or by way of comments made by Mr. Morgan during the nationally televised 67th Annual Emmy Awards. While the violations of Mr. Roper’s rights continue unabated, Mr. Morgan has confirmed that his monetary goals have been realized and his personal as well as professional recovery is well underway. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about my client, Kevin Roper, who awaits indictment, while his constitutional rights were discarded in favor of an unprecedented rush to judgment and material for comic relief.
This past May, Morgan and Walmart agreed on a settlement, but that was before the National Transportation Safety Board concluded in August that Roper’s fatigue (he’s said to have been awake for 28 straight hours and on the road for 14 at the time of the accident) was the cause of the crash, along with his speeding.
Roper was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. He plead not guilty on all charges.