The attorneys for three former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd have requested for the charges against their clients to be dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are currently charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for their involvement in Floyd’s death. On Tuesday (Feb. 16), Robert and Natalie Paule, who represent Thao, filed a motion to have the case thrown out because prosecutors allegedly leaked details about a failed plea deal to The New York Times, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. On Wednesday (Feb. 17), Lane and Kueng’s attorneys also filed to have the charges dismissed.
According to their motion, the leaked information could “irreversibly taint the jury pool and will deny Mr. Thao his constitutional right to a fair trial by impartial jurors.” The lawyers also want Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is prosecuting the case, to face “sanctions against the State for its role — directly or indirectly — in the leaking of highly prejudicial information related to potential plea agreements of codefendants.”
Ellison defended himself against the allegations and said that his office has handled the case appropriately. “It’s sad that the defense would stoop to peddling baseless conspiracy theories rather than prepare a serious defense of their client to address the grave crimes with which he is charged,” he said in a statement. “Unlike the defense, we are confident in our case and look forward to presenting it to a jury.”
Thao, Lane and Kueng are set to stand trial together in August. Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, is set to stand trial alone in March. He is currently facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
The City of Minneapolis is currently making plans to heighten security as the trial date nears. Mayor Jacob Frey said that by the time the verdict is read, the city will have up to 2,000 National Guardsmen and an additional 1,100 law enforcement officers to assist with public safety. “We anticipate that trauma increasing as we get closer into jury deliberations and the verdict, and we believe that it on us to honor the magnitude of this moment and ensure that our families in this city feel safe,” he said.