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Defense in Phoenix freeway-shootings case seeks testimony from Gov. Doug Ducey

Leslie Allen Merritt Jr., waits to make his initial appearance before a judge at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Phoenix. The landscaper is the suspect in a series of Phoenix freeway shootings and was arrested Friday after trying to sell a gun at a pawn shop. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

PHOENIX — The defense team of a man accused in a handful of Phoenix freeway shootings wants to put Gov. Doug Ducey under oath.

Attorneys for Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. filed a motion Wednesday to depose Ducey, citing a tweet the governor sent minutes after their client was taken into custody.

According to court documents, Merritt’s attorneys want to know what information Ducey had before their client’s arrest that made him confident enough to hit send.

If deposed, Ducey would have to give testimony.

A Ducey spokesman said the motion appeared to be a publicity stunt and that the governor didn’t have anything of relevance to add to the trial.

The judge issued a gag order preventing the defense and prosecution from talking about the case publicly.

Merritt was jailed on charges that included drive-by shootings and aggravated assault in a series of shootings along Interstate 10 that began in late August 2015.

A SWAT team swarmed him at a Wal-Mart in Glendale.

Of the 11 shootings, a grand jury indicted Merritt for four.

Lawyers for the landscaper filed to get their client released in October, pointing to an alibi.

Merritt has professed his innocence sine the night he was arrested.

Authorities said they forensically linked a weapon Merritt owned to the shootings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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