Abdulrahman Zeitoun was found not guilty of trying to kill his ex-wife and offering a fellow inmate $20,000 to commit the crime. Zeitoun was portrayed as a hero protagonist in the best-selling 2009 book "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers, one of the most well-received chronicles of Hurricane Katrina.

In issuing his verdict, Judge Frank Marullo blasted prosecutors for putting the former inmate, Donald Pugh, on the stand. Marullo said he couldn't trust the testimony of Pugh, who has been imprisoned in four states and lied to his child's mother about his name for all five years they were together, according to her testimony on behalf of Zeitoun's defense.

"That guy is a liar," Marullo said. "He has no credibility at all. I'm surprised the state put him on the stand at all. That's an injustice."

Zeitoun, 55, had waived his right to a jury trial when he was charged with solicitation of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder of his ex-wife, stemming from a July 25, 2012, incident in which he allegedly attacked her with a tire iron on Prytania Street. He was acquitted on both counts.

Zeitoun hugged his defense attorneys, J.C. Lawrence and A.J. Ibert. The attorneys had argued that the district attorney's office had trumped up the charges on their client because of his fame. 

"The New York Times called and Dr. Phil called and The Washington Post called. And each time, the charges kept growing," Lawrence said outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced.



About the Author: James C. Lawrence, Jr. is the founder of J.C. Lawrence and Associates, LLC and has represented clients in private practice since 1984. With his background as a public defender and 33-years of trial experience, Mr. Lawrence is a consummate legal professional who can represent clients in a wide variety of legal matters. Mr. Lawrence is perhaps best known for the recent Zeitoun’s trial, and has been successful in winning numerous criminal and civil cases, involving homicide, DUI/DWI, wrongful death, personal injury, auto collision, and others.