Judge Denies Request to Dismiss Williams Trial

A judge ruled Thursday that the Jayson Williams (search) manslaughter trial will continue, turning aside a defense request to dismiss all charges against the retired NBA (search) star.

State Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman rejected the defense argument that evidence withheld by the prosecution made it impossible for Williams to get a fair trial.

The prosecution maintained that it unintentionally forgot to turn over notes and photographs from a weapons expert before the trial started, but that the defense suffered no harm.

Coleman called the error "negligent" but said it did not harm the defense, noting that defense experts did not change their opinions based on the new material. The judge also found there was no intentional concealment of evidence, and that the situation can be corrected.

"The defendant has had this cloud of an indictment hanging over his head for two years," Coleman said. "He has a right to have this case decided by a fair-minded jury."

Coleman said both sides agreed a fair jury was assembled. "Let the jury decide based on the facts, the evidence," he said.

Both sides are now expected to discuss how the trial will proceed and which witnesses will be called. Testimony is likely to resume Monday.

Williams was not in court Thursday, following the birth of his second daughter on Tuesday.

After the judge's ruling, the defense asked that prosecutor Steven Lember be prohibited from participating in the trial, claiming his actions were unethical.

The judge called the request "unusual," and said he would research the issue before ruling.