Prosecutors in the George Floyd case delayed sharing important evidence with defense attorneys for months and should be sanctioned by the court, defense attorneys argued in a motion filed Friday.
Robert Paule and Natalie Paule, who represent former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, filed the motion and asked Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to move the trial back four months, from March 8 to July 5, because of the delays.
Thao and former police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are charged in Floyd's May 25 killing in Minneapolis. Attorneys for the other three defendants have not weighed in on the issue.
"The State has repeatedly disclosed discovery months after the Court ordered them to do so and has caused harm to the Defense's preparation for trial, which in turn is endangering Mr. Thao's federal and state Constitutional guaranteed rights to a fair trial," Thao's attorneys wrote.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is leading the prosecution with assistance from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, rejected the accusations.
"The defense motion is without merit," Ellison said. "The state disputes the defense's inaccurate characterizations, and we look forward to providing the facts in our response to the court."
The county attorney's office declined to comment.
According to the motion, Cahill issued an order on June 30 ordering prosecutors to share all evidence by Aug. 14, but prosecutors delayed sharing more than 15,000 pages of evidence over eight different incidents.
Thao's attorneys took particular issue with a delay in sharing an interview that Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker gave to investigators on July 8.
Baker told investigators that Floyd's death was caused by his health issues combined with his exertion and restraint by police before he was eventually pinned on his stomach in the street.
Prosecutors were aware of the interview by at least Aug. 7, but didn't disclose it to the defense until Oct. 28, the motion said.
"Not only did this disclosure violate the Court's Order, but it appears to have been done in a manner designed to handicap the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Probable Cause," the motion said.
Attorneys for all four defendants filed separate motions earlier this year to dismiss the cases against their clients, which Cahill denied.
Thao's attorneys also asked Cahill to order the state to pay for attorneys' fees and costs caused by the delays, and to extend defense attorneys' deadlines to disclose their expert witnesses.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708