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George Floyd Case: Motion To Remove Hennepin County Att'y Mike Freeman Denied

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) -- A Hennepin County judge has denied a motion to remove the county's attorney Mike Freeman from the George Floyd case.

On Thursday, the attorney for former Officer J. Kueng filed a motion arguing that Freeman, the county's top prosecutor, has "compromised his ethics" and ability "to impartially prosecute" the case.

Kueng is one of four officers charged in the May 25 death of Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes even as Floyd pleaded for air. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Kueng and two other officers, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting. All four were fired.

In his motion, defense attorney Thomas Plunkett said Freeman has called Floyd's death a "senseless death" and that Freeman said a bystander's video of the incident "is graphic, and horrible and terrible, and no person should do that."

"Mr. Freeman's comments leave no doubt that justice is not his objective in the Kueng prosecution," Plunkett wrote. "He has abdicated his duties as a prosecutor and must be removed from the case."

Friday, District Court Judge Peter Cahill denied the motion, saying that it failed to establish that a conflict of interest exists "and has failed to provide legal authority for the removal of a prosecutor by the Court, even if the allegations of improper conduct are true."

The next court hearing for the four former officers is scheduled for Sept. 11.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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