The trial of three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd will be postponed to March 2022, a judge said Thursday.
Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were to be tried on August 23 for aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter when they aided the more senior officer, Derek Chauvin, to hold Floyd face down. land in the street last May, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck.
Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter last month. The four officers also face federal civil rights charges alleging violating Floyd’s constitutional rights during his arrest on May 25.
Chauvin is to be sentenced on June 25, following his conviction on state charges. There is no date for the federal affairs trial yet.
Judge Peter Cahill said he changed the date so the federal case could go ahead first.
He also said he felt the need to put some distance between the trial of the three officers and that of Chauvin because of all the publicity surrounding the case.
News that the trial was postponed came during a hearing Thursday on the preliminary motions.
Defense attorneys for the three former officers accepted the postponement. The state, through Deputy Attorney General Matthew Frank, has not supported the delay.
During Thursday’s motions hearing, it was not clear who originally requested the change.
Cahill also weighed in on a request for prosecutors to sanction on Thursday after media reported that Chauvin planned to plead guilty a year ago and allegations that they had not disclosed information about the alleged coercion of a witness.
Lawyers for Lane, Kueng and Thao said they wanted the court to force prosecutors to submit affidavits under oath that they were not responsible for the media leak.
In a Wednesday night filing, Thao’s attorney also alleged that the Hennepin County medical examiner was forced to include “neck compression” in his findings – and prosecutors were aware of it.
The former officers waived their right to appear at Thursday’s hearing.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is suing police, said allegations his office was involved in a leak were false.
Chauvin is to be sentenced on June 25.