Actor Martin Sheen Defends Convicted Cop Killer

Martin Sheen (AP)

Martin Sheen (AP)

Martin Sheen, who played the US President on "The West Wing," jumped into the role of judge Monday, holding a courthouse news conference in New York to pronounce an ex-cop's convicted killer an innocent man.

"He's a young man on fire with the truth," Sheen said outside the Manhattan District Attorney's Office after an hour-long visit at Sing Sing Correctional Facility with Jon-Adrian Velazquez. "And I have assured him that we're not going to give up his fight until he walks out of Sing Sing an innocent man."

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Velazquez, 45, has been imprisoned for the last 13 years for shooting former cop Albert Ward, 59, who was running an illegal gambling parlor on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. The shooter and an accomplice had broken in and announced a stickup.

Ward was shot in the face after first pulling his own gun and firing.

Robert Gottlieb, an advocate for the inmate, said Velazquez's 1998 conviction was based on faulty eyewitness testimony without any supporting forensics. Two witnesses have recanted.