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Defense attorney cites threats, vandalism as reasons to move trial in death of George Floyd

In a memo to the court, attorney Thomas Plunkett said it's not safe for the defendants and their attorneys to enter and exit the Hennepin County courthouse.

MINNEAPOLIS — A defense attorney for a former Minneapolis police officer is expanding on his argument for the court to move any trial in the George Floyd case, citing threats and vandalism following the last hearing on Sept. 11.

In a court filing Thursday, attorney Thomas Plunkett submitted a police report which said he was approached by about 20 people outside the Hennepin County courthouse following the September hearing. The police report said Plunkett received verbal death threats, and one person smashed a bicycle into his vehicle.

Plunkett, who represents former officer J. Alexander Kueng, noted in a separate memorandum to the court that defendant Thomas Lane and his attorney were also physically assaulted; and defendant Tou Thao and his attorney were followed and protesters jeered at them as they left the courthouse.

In the memo, Plunkett said it would not be safe for the participants if a trial were to take place in Hennepin County, as he feels the defendants and their attorneys cannot safely enter and exit the courthouse. Plunkett noted the September incidents followed a pre-trial hearing, and said tensions during the actual trial are likely to be higher.

Previous court filings cited concerns about pretrial publicity in the Twin Cities in defense motions for a change of venue.

RELATED: Kueng seeks dismissal or change of venue in George Floyd case

Former officers Kueng, Lane and Thao are each charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd's death. Former officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

A judge is expected to rule on the change of venue motion, along with other pre-trial motions, by Oct. 15.

RELATED: Judge considers decisions on combined trial, venue, dismissal in George Floyd case

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