Jury selection in the trial for Thao and Kueng, charged with aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, had been scheduled to begin next week. The two former officers have pleaded not guilty.
“These two events and the publicity surrounding them are significant in that they could make it difficult for jurors to presume Thao and Kueng innocent of the State charges,” Cahill wrote.
The judge also denied a request from defense attorneys for a change of venue in the ruling. Jury selection in the state trial for Thao and Kueng is now slated to begin January 9 with opening statements January 30.
The charges stem from the former officers’ actions — or lack thereof — as their colleague Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the neck and back of Floyd, who was handcuffed and lying on his stomach, for over nine minutes on May 25, 2020.
During the arrest, Lane held down Floyd’s legs, Kueng held down Floyd’s torso, and Thao stood nearby and kept a crowd of upset bystanders back. Harrowing video taken by a bystander showed Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, desperately pleading for them to let him breathe and calling for his mother before he lost consciousness and died.
Thao, Kueng and Lane were already convicted in a federal court in February of violating Floyd’s civil rights. A sentencing date has not been set in that case.