Kueng's attorneys in George Floyd case ask again for court to move trial, cite inadequate jury questionnaire

Kueng's attorneys in George Floyd case ask again for court to move trial, cite inadequate jury questionnaire Photo: Hennepin County Jail.

Charlie Wiese
Updated: December 30, 2020 05:13 PM
Created: December 30, 2020 04:33 PM

Former Minneapolis Police officer J Alexander Kueng's attorneys filed a motion Wednesday again asking the court to move the trial from Hennepin County, saying that the jury questionnaire was inadequate in determining community bias.

According to a motion filed in court Wednesday, Kueng's attorneys have asked the court to throw out the current jury questionnaire and prepare a community survey to determine if Hennepin County is an appropriate venue for the George Floyd trial.

In early November, Judge Peter Cahill gave a preliminary ruling against a change of venue, stating, “Because of that pervasive media coverage, a change of venue is unlikely to cure the taint of potentially prejudicial pretrial publicity.”

Judge in Floyd case issues number of orders, including ruling on joint trial, change of venue

Because it was a preliminary order, the court could reconsider “as the case develops if circumstances warrant.”

Cahill ruled in November after defense attorneys had argued that pretrial publicity had made it impossible for the four men to get a fair trial in Minneapolis. They also cited a Sept. 11 hearing in which the men and their attorneys were confronted by angry protesters outside the courthouse, raising safety issues. Defense lawyers argued that witnesses could be intimidated, and jurors could be affected by chants from a crowd outside.

Kueng's attorneys also argued that the questionnaire sent to potential jurors was flawed and would not accurately "ferret out bias." Additionally, they said the questionnaire is not being filled out under oath, which they say is not the historical precedent. Because of that, they requested a new pool of jurors be selected as the questionnaire had already been sent out.

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