Attorneys representing officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile requested evidence that is irrelevant to the case, prosecutors argued in a memorandum filed Monday.
Earlier this month, Yanez's attorneys filed a motion asking that prosecutors turn over any evidence from the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and other government agencies, including statements from Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents "made internally to other agents or supervisors and not produced in the case report."
The prosecution team, which includes Assistant Ramsey County attorneys Richard Dusterhoft and Clayton Robinson Jr. and federal prosecutor Jeffrey Paulsen, argued that no BCA agents witnessed the shooting, so their opinions on Yanez's use of deadly force are irrelevant.
"None of the [BCA] Special Agents have been noticed as expert witnesses for either side," said the prosecutors' memo. "For those reasons, any opinion that the investigators may have is irrelevant, immaterial, inadmissible … ."
Defense attorneys Paul Engh, Earl Gray and Thomas Kelly presume that some BCA agents might disagree with the charging decision, prosecutors said in their memo, but the BCA investigated the case and presented it to the Ramsey County attorney's office with no recommendation about charges.
"The defense is free to find their own expert witnesses," the prosecution memo said. "… While the State can't tell any witness who they can or can't speak with, the prosecution did direct that, if the [BCA] Special Agents did choose to speak with the defense, they should avoid providing opinions about the use of force by Officer Yanez in this case …
"The BCA and its Special Agents do not make the decision if charges are warranted and, if so, what charges to bring."
Prosecutors said they have already provided the defense all reports, recordings and evidence in the case, and that any information that might be favorable to the defense would be contained in that data.
Yanez, 29, a St. Anthony police officer, was charged Nov. 16 with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm in the death of Castile, 32, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6, and for endangering Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter, who were in the car.
Yanez is on paid administrative leave.
Defense attorneys have also filed motions for a dismissal of the manslaughter count on constitutional grounds, a change of venue, a motion to exclude testimony from prosecution witness Jeffrey Noble, who is a police procedure expert, and suppression of statements made by Yanez, among other motions.
Prosecutors haven't responded to those motions.
Yanez has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A motion hearing is scheduled for April 4, and a trial is set for May 30.