Updated: May 13, 2021 07:02 PM
Created: May 13, 2021 11:23 AM
A judge has delayed the trial of the three former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd until next year.
With the attorneys for Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao in court Thursday arguing pretrial motions, Judge Peter Cahill moved the former officers' trial — which was set to begin on Aug. 23 — until March 2022. KSTP Reporter Eric Chaloux reports jury selection is now set to begin on March 8, 2022.
Cahill delayed the trial due to federal charges that allege Lane, Kueng, Thao and former officer Derek Chauvin violated Floyd’s civil rights during his May 25 arrest. Chauvin was found guilty by a jury last month of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.
"The federal charges are much greater ... higher," Cahill said during the 75-minute hearing. "It made more sense for the federal case to go forward," Cahill added.
The judge also said, with the intense publicity around Chauvin's sentencing next month and the coverage of the federal case, the trial for the three former officers needs "some distance" and he owed it to the defendants to give them some space.
The attorneys for Lane, Kueng and Thao agreed with Cahill's decision to delay the trial while the state, through Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, argued against the delay. None of the former officers were in court during the hearing.
Cahill and the attorneys also took up two other motions before deciding to delay the trial. Lane's attorney requested use-of-force reports from Minneapolis police, and Cahill asked prosecutors to give him an estimate in a few weeks of how many use-of-force files have been filed in the past 5-10 years before deciding on that. Also, Thao's attorney made a motion to remove prosecutors from the officers' case, citing prosecutorial misconduct linked to a leak regarding early plea negotiations with Chauvin. Cahill set a hearing in August to discuss that and try to determine who leaked that information to the press.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the officers, has said allegations that his office was involved in a leak are false.
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