Trial delayed for two officers charged in Floyd death 

The judge rejected a motion to move the trial out of Hennepin County. 

From left to right, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

A Hennepin County judge has delayed the trial of two officers charged in the death of George Floyd until next year in order to “diminish the effect of prejudicial pretrial publicity.”

The trial for former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng was scheduled to begin June 13 but has been moved to Jan. 5, 2023. Both face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death.

Former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Floyd at the conclusion of his April 2021 trial.

A fourth officer, Thomas Lane, took a plea deal last month on the second-degree manslaughter charge and will be sentenced to three years.

Judge Peter Cahill said Lane’s guilty plea combined with a recent federal civil rights trial in the case “could make it difficult for jurors to presume Thao and Kueng innocent of the State charges.”

He said the publicity surrounding these events created a “reasonable likelihood of an unfair trial.”

However, Cahill rejected a motion to move the trial out of Hennepin County.

“Because media coverage of these cases has been extensive throughout the entire state, a change of venue will not cure any jury pool taint created by any prejudicial pretrial publicity, whether the jury pool is from Hennepin or another county,” Cahill wrote.

He also denied a request to reconsider a ban on audio and video coverage of the trial, meaning it won’t be livestreamed.