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Lawyers seek to separate ex-officers' trials from Chauvin's in federal case

Four former Minneapolis police officers face federal civil rights charges for the death of George Floyd. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI
Four former Minneapolis police officers face federal civil rights charges for the death of George Floyd. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The lawyers for three former Minneapolis police officers facing federal charges related to the police killing of George Floyd asked to have their clients' trials separated from from that of fellow defendant Derek Chauvin.

All four men face federal charges for violating Floyd's civil rights during his arrest May 25, 2020, which resulted in his death after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than 9 minutes. Chauvin has already been sentenced to more than 22 years in prison on state murder and manslaughter charges.

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Lawyers for Chauvin's former colleagues, J. Kueng, Tou Thao, said their clients' cases should be separate from Chauvin's because "the jurors will not be able to follow the court's instructions and compartmentalize the evidence as it related" to them. Another former officer on the scene, Thomas Lane, later also joined the request, according to court documents.

Like Chauvin, Kueng, Lane and Thao also face state charges of aiding and abetting for not intervening and rendering aid to Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn't breath as Chauvin kneeled on him. The three men's attorneys have argued that aiding and abetting must be intentional and should not be applied to their actions.

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Their trial is scheduled to begin in March. If convicted, each could serve more than 16 years in prison.

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