Holtzclaw was denied a new trial Thursday, shortly before his sentencing to 263 years in prison.
Attorneys for Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer convicted of sexually abusing eight women, filed for a new trial Wednesday, claiming prosecutors may have withheld evidence.
Holtzclaw is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday for four counts of first-degree rape, one count of second-degree rape, six counts of sexual battery, four counts of forcible sodomy, and three counts of procuring lewd acts. He was found not guilty of 18 other charges.
A jury previously recommended he serve 263 years in prison.
Prosecutors argued that Holtzclaw targeted black women with criminal histories and who were not likely to report assaults to police. He met the women in the high-crime neighborhood that he patrolled, prosecutors said.
But on Wednesday, defense attorneys said Holtzclaw's right to a fair trial may have been violated. Under criminal court procedures, defense attorneys must have access to all evidence against their client, particularly items that could help exonerate them.
According to a court filing, Holtzclaw's attorneys saw a Facebook post from an Oklahoma City detective that said several other women had come forward "seeking a piece of the pie" with allegations that were found to be untrue, and that DNA from several women was found on Holtzclaw's pants and car. At trial, however, evidence only showed DNA from one woman was found on Hotlzclaw's pants.
If any evidence was withheld, Holtzclaw's attorneys said it would undermine the credibility of anything else prosecutors said at trial.
"If there is additional DNA evidence despite the government's representations to the contrary, and if there are additional people who came forward and falsely claimed they were victims — yet for whatever reason their stories were withheld from the defense despite representations under oath that their stories did not exist — than deliberate misrepresentations were made not only to defense counsel but to the Court, calling into question the credibility of the government's entire case," the defense motion stated.
Holtzclaw's attorneys added that they needed to know the identities of anyone who claimed to be one of Holtzclaw's victims, to see if they had known each other and possibly conspired against Holtzclaw. Or, their testimony could contain something that would show he was innocent, but it's impossible to know without speaking to them, the defense team said.
If a new trial isn't granted, at a minimum, Holtzclaw's attorneys called for a hearing to determine if evidence was withheld.
Holtzclaw's family, meanwhile, has maintained the former officer is innocent, with his sister highlighting their issues with the trial on a website, Justice for Daniel Holtzclaw. She noted that Holtzclaw immediately cooperated when first questioned by investigators, and questioned the timeline and evidence presented by prosecutors at trial.
The family is also accepting donations to help with his defense.
"Although we know we have an uphill fight we are going to do whatever it takes," his sister wrote.
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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