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Kueng seeks dismissal or change of venue in George Floyd case

Attorneys claim the state has not shown probable cause on charges of aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.
Credit: Hennepin Co. Jail
Former Minneapolis police officer J Alexander Kueng

MINNEAPOLIS — The attorney for former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng has filed a series of motions seeking to dismiss the charges in the death of George Floyd, while also separately seeking to add evidence and move the trial out of the Twin Cities.

Kueng is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, along with fellow former MPD officers Tou Thao and Thomas Lane. Former officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter In Floyd's death.

In the motion to dismiss, attorney Thomas Plunkett says the complaint in the case does not establish probable cause to support the charges, claiming there is "no evidence that Kueng knew Chauvin was going to commit a crime at the time and during the time Chauvin utilized the neck restraint (on George Floyd." 

The motion also claims Chauvin's use of the neck restraint was "reasonable," saying Floyd was resisting officers.

"Kueng could not intentionally aid and abet Chauvin’s conduct when the conduct was either reasonable or appeared reasonable at the time," the motion states.

In a separate motion, Plunkett is asking the court to move Kueng's trial out of Hennepin County, suggesting Stearns County or another venue outside the Twin Cities metro area with similar demographics. 

The change of venue motion claims "potentially prejudicial material has been disseminated publically by the prosecution, creating a reasonable likelihood that a fair trial in the metro area cannot be had."

Plunkett also filed two additional motions, looking to cite details of George Floyd's prior arrest record as evidence in Kueng's trial.

Prosecution in the case is being led by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who has filed a motion seeking to combine the cases of the four former officers into one trial.

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