Three Former Minneapolis Police Officers Request Separate Federal Trials from Derek Chauvin

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are requesting separate federal civil rights trials from Derek Chauvin’s. (HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE VIA AP, FILE)

Three former Minneapolis police officers are asking to be tried separately from Derek Chauvin in federal court on charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

Attorneys for J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao filed motions this week requesting that their trials be severed from Chauvin’s trial because his case could potentially prejudice jurors against their clients.

“The jury will have insurmountable difficulty distinguishing the alleged acts of each defendant from the alleged acts of his co-defendants,” wrote Thao’s attorneys, Robert and Natalie Paule.

Kueng’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, also filed a motion requesting a separate trial from Chauvin. In a separate filed request, Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, asked to join both Thao’s and Kueng’s motions.

No date has been set for the trial. Co-defendants are typically tried in one trial in federal court.

The former officers were federally indicted in May for using the “color of the law” to deprive Floyd of his constitutional rights to be “free from the use of unreasonable force” when Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last year. Kueng and Lane helped pin Floyd in the street as Thao held back angry bystanders.

In a separate state court trial, jurors convicted Chauvin on April 20 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Kueng, Lane and Thao are scheduled to be tried in state court next year for aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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SOURCE: Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chao Xiong