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Arizona man connected to Las Vegas shooting seeks trial by judge

Douglas Haig takes questions from reporters at a news conference Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Chandler, Ariz. Haig spoke about his experience selling ammunition to the gunman who killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in the Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest in modern U.S. history. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)

LAS VEGAS – The Arizona man who has acknowledged selling bullets to the gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history has asked to be tried by a judge on his federal ammunition-manufacturing charge.

The attorney for Douglas Haig argued that the connection to the massacre will have a “prejudicial effect” on Las Vegas jurors, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday.

“Unlike a judge, jurors may simply be unable to set aside their passion and prejudice to render a fair and impartial verdict in this case,” Haig’s attorney wrote in recent court filings.

A federal magistrate judge in Nevada has recommended for the trial judge to deny Haig’s new request. “Though the trial will present challenges, the trial judge will ensure the Defendant an impartial trial,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach wrote in a report.

U.S. District Judge James Mahan has not yet issued a decision.

Haig has pleaded not guilty to illegally making tracer and armor-piercing bullets at his home in Mesa, Arizona. He is not charged in the October 2017 shooting that killed 59 people and injured more than 850.

Prosecutors have said his fingerprints were found on unfired reloaded bullets found inside the hotel room where the gunman fired down at the crowd.

Haig previously sought to move the trial to Arizona, citing similar concerns about an impartial jury. The court denied the request.

His attorney also sought to prevent prosecutors from mentioning the Las Vegas shooting at trial. The court agreed to exclude some related evidence, but noted other procedural safeguards would reduce the possibility of prejudice.

The trial is scheduled to begin in August.

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