Prosecutors do not object to Christensen trial delay


Photo of Brendt Christensen, convicted kidnapper and killer of visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. Christensen was arrested on June 30, 2017 and will be sentenced at 4 p.m. Thursday.

By Jessica Berbey, Assistant Daytime Editor

Prosecutors for the U.S. government said they do not object to continuing Brendt Christensen’s jury trial.

The decision comes 12 days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he is seeking the death penalty for Christensen, who is on trial for the kidnapping resulting in death of visiting scholar Yingying Zhang last summer.

Christensen, who has been in federal custody since June 30, had his jury trial scheduled for Feb. 27.

After Sessions filed an intent to seek the death penalty if Christensen is convicted, Christensen’s public defenders requested the court abandon all existing deadlines and trial dates.

However, the prosecutors for the case said they do not object in continuing the defense motion.

“The United States understands that the defendant intends to amend and/or supplement his pending motions in light of the notice of intent to seek a sentence of death,” wrote prosecutors Eugene Miller and Bryan Freres in an official notice made public on Wednesday.

The prosecutors supported the request to change the Feb. 12 pretrial conference to a hearing to discuss scheduling.

They added that they will continue to consult with the defense attorneys in regard to the amount of time each side needs to be ready for trial.

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