New York prosecutor may help retry 1979 case of missing boy Etan Patz

Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein, left, leaves at the end of the day in the trial of Pedro Hernandez, who is accused of kidnapping and killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in New York. Jurors in the murder trial surrounding the decades-old missing-child case took the unusual step of rehearing closing arguments Thursday, a day after saying they were deadlocked. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein, left, leaves at the end of the day in the trial of Pedro Hernandez, who is accused of kidnapping and killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in New York. Jurors in the murder trial surrounding the decades-old missing-child case took the unusual step of rehearing closing arguments Thursday, a day after saying they were deadlocked. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) – A judge has ruled the attorney who prosecuted the murder trial of a New Jersey man accused of kidnapping and killing Etan Patz in 1979 may participate in the retrial.

Joan Illuzzi worked for the Manhattan district attorney’s office last year and prosecuted Pedro Hernandez in the missing boy case. It ended in a mistrial after one juror refused to convict.

Illuzzi then ran unsuccessfully for Staten Island district attorney. She’s now returned to the Manhattan DA’s office.

Hernandez’s attorneys wanted Illuzzi banned from being in front of a jury because of comments she made about the case during her campaign.

The attorneys argued the comments could bias a jury. Judge Maxwell Wiley disagreed.

Six-year-old Etan vanished on his way to school in New York City.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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