Attorneys for the former Dallas cop who allegedly mistook a Black man’s apartment for her own and then shot and killed him filed a motion Monday asking for her murder trial to be moved due to potential juror bias.
Amber Guyger is accused in the death of PricewaterhouseCoopers employee Botham Jean on Sept. 6, 2018, in Dallas.
Her defense is asking the court to move the case from Dallas County to the Dallas suburbs of Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Kaufman or Rockwall counties, according to the Courthouse News Service.
Attorneys said in a 94-page motion the news service obtained that media portrayals of Guyger have incited “hysteria and false narratives” that prejudiced potential jurors.
In the document, Guyger’s legal team accuses a wide array of public officials from advocate Njoki McElroy to actress Whoopi Goldberg for her comments on the talk show “The View.”
“Goldberg laments about a black man ‘smoking (marijuana) while black’ in his home and shouts to the audience, ‘now you understand why people are taking a knee,’” attorneys state in the motion.
“Goldberg also claims that if the situation had been reversed … Mr. Jean ‘would be hanging somewhere by now,’ apparently meaning that 11 days or less after the shooting Mr. Jean would have been lynched,” attorneys state.
“This is inflammatory and utter nonsense,” attorneys state.
The document also references McElroy, who said during a racial healing event the Dallas Morning News newspaper covered that Jean’s death “was a form of lynching.”
“This coverage has ranged from the absurd like what defendant wore to a court-setting to the outrageous like falsehoods about defendant being a racist and comparisons of the incident to ‘… a form of lynching,’ which was inflammatory nonsense published by the Dallas Morning News, a presumably reputable media outlet,” Guyger’s attorneys stated in the motion.
Guyger, who has faced heavy media criticism since Jean’s death, has said she was returning home from her shift when she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own one floor below Jean.
She thought he was an intruder, attorney and former prosecutor Robert Rogers told The New York Times.
“I believe it was reasonable for her to believe that she was being threatened with an intruder in her home and therefore she acted in self-defense,” Rogers said. “The law justifies her actions.”
It’s unclear how the recent motion will affect jury selection, which was initially scheduled to begin Sept. 6, exactly one year after Jean’s death.