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Judge delays trial for J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao until 2023

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill agreed to grant a defense motion to delay the trial from June 2022 to “diminish the effect of prejudicial pretrial publicity.”

MINNEAPOLIS — A Hennepin County judge has granted a motion to delay the state trial for former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, both charged in connection with the murder of George Floyd.

On Monday, June 6, Judge Peter Cahill granted the defense's motion to continue the trial until Jan. 5, 2023, which is when motions hearings will begin. Jury selection is scheduled to start on Jan. 9, 2023. He denied a change of venue request from the defendants' attorneys.

The trial was initially scheduled to begin on Monday, June 13. Last week, attorneys for Thao and Kueng asked Cahill to delay the trial or move it out of Hennepin County because of "overwhelming pretrial publicity" that would impact the ability to find a "fair and impartial jury."

In his memo, Cahill agreed with the defense that recent coverage around pretrial questionnaires, Thomas Lane pleading guilty to his state charges and the fact that all three former officers (Lane, Thao and Kueng) were found guilty in a federal civil rights trial could make it difficult for jurors to be impartial and unbiased.

Thao and Kueng are both charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and aiding and abetting second-degree murder in connection to Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

Also in the memo, Cahill denied a media coalition motion asking the judge to reconsider an April 25 baring audio and video coverage of the trial. However, Cahill signaled he would reconsider allowing audio and video "if there is a significant rule change in place by by January 4, 2023."

This is a developing story. KARE 11 will provide more details as new information becomes available.

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