- Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung, and Thomas Lane face federal charges for violating George Floyd's civil rights.
- Their lawyers requested they be tried separately from Derek Chauvin, who was already convicted of state murder charges.
- The lawyers argued a jury would have difficulty separating out the ex-officers' actions from Chauvin's.
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Three former police officers charged in George Floyd's death argued on Tuesday that they should not face federal trial alongside Derek Chauvin because there would be unfair prejudice against them.
Chauvin has already been convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in state court for kneeling on Floyd's neck, asphyxiating him. He and former officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane face federal charges of willfully violating Floyd's civil rights; Chauvin faces an additional charge of excessive use of force.
Lawyers for Thao and Kueng filed motions asking to sever their clients from Chauvin's case, while Lane's attorney filed a motion to join those requests.
The attorneys argued that a jury would have difficulty distinguishing between the acts of each officer presented in court, and that jurors would end up considering the evidence cumulatively. They also argued some evidence that may be presented might be admissible against some of the defendants, but not others.
Thao's attorneys argued that his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself would be jeopardised if the defendants' cases were joined, and that he would not get a fair and impartial trial unless he is tried separately.
Thao, Kueng and Lane are scheduled to go on trial in March 2022 on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. Attorneys for the three former officers also filed objections to a judge's attempt to join those cases in September 2020, based on the fear that they might "scapegoat" each other, The Star Tribune reported.