The state trial of two of the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd has been delayed. The trial of J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao will now take place on Jan. 5, 2023.
Presiding Judge Peter Cahill cited as the reasons for the rescheduled trial the pretrial publicity associated with ex-officer Thomas Lane taking a plea agreement, as well as the three officers being found guilty in their federal cases.
Cahill, in the same order, ruled against a change of venue because the entire state knows about the case. The order references web searches conducted in the Duluth News Tribune, Rochester Post-Bulletin, Fargo Forum, and Brainerd Dispatch, all of which mention Derek Chauvin, Thao, and Floyd up to 60 times more often than the Star Tribune.
Cahill will also not accept any plea agreements from Kueng or Thao until two weeks after they are sentenced in their federal case for violating Floyd’s civil rights. A sentencing date has yet to be determined.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
In the same order, Judge Cahill denied the motion to reconsider denying media access to the courtroom made by the Media Coalition—of which the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder is a member—because the courtroom no longer needs to be reconfigured to accommodate early pandemic social distancing. Cahill says the order could be reconsidered later.
Henry Pan is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.