Updated as of 10/25/2022 at 7:40 a.m. ET
Former Minneapolis officer J. Alexander Kueng entered a plea agreement Monday morning, pleading guilty to one count of aiding and abetting in the manslaughter of George Floyd, per AP News. His buddy Tou Thao faces the same state charges but maintains his not guilty plea. The two were recently sentenced to federal prison.
According to Kueng’s plea agreement, as long as he pleads guilty to the one count, the second charge of aiding and abetting in second-degree unintentional murder will be dismissed, the report says. The deal also recommends a 3 1/2 years prison sentence. If he was convicted on that second charge, he would’ve faced 12 1/2 years if convicted.
On the other hand, Thao isn’t taking the bait. He said in court earlier this year he would not be taking a plea deal claiming he “would be lying” if he accepted the agreement, per AP. As Kueng took the deal, Thao agreed to a trial by stipulated evidence, waiving his right to testify and his right to a trial by jury.
It seems the pressure was building as the two awaited trial. Kueng’s plea comes right before jury selection and right after the state and defense filed over 100 motions to limit testimony and bar evidence to be used at trial, AP previously reported.
Some testimonies include those on behalf of Thao and Kueng to win them sympathy points from the jury. Per the report, their attorneys want the judge to bar the state’s witnesses from speaking directly to the jury. This is cited from the testimony of critical care specialist Dr. Martin Tobin during Derek Chauvin’s trial where he asked the jury to place their hands around their necks to imagine how Floyd was killed.
Another motion requested the witnesses be barred from referring to Floyd as deceased until the time he was officially pronounced dead.
On the other side, the state wants to bar the defense from bringing evidence that will speak to the former officers’ characters. You know, how some people will speak on behalf of the accused to convince the jury they’re decent human beings. This was cited from the federal trial where the two and their families tried to do just that but the prosecution called such evidence irrelevant (LOL).
It doesn’t seem like there will be an easy out of this trial at all for Thing 1 and Thing 2.
More about the pre-trial from AP News:
The state also seeks to bar evidence about whether Chauvin was qualified to be a field training officer – after questions about that were raised during the federal trial as part of a defense strategy to blame the officers’ training for their actions that day.
The defense wants witnesses barred from testifying in uniform unless they are testifying as part of their job.
The defense also wants an order barring witnesses from wearing signage, after another state witness, Donald Williams, wore a T-shirt under his dress shirt that said “Black Excellence,” according to the defense, and was visible to at least one juror.
The defense wants to bar the state from questions that elicit emotional responses, as prosecutors did during Chauvin’s trial, and they want to bar prosecutors from calling juvenile bystanders as witnesses, including a girl who was 9 at the time.