Judge Delays Decision on Whether Van Dyke Statements Can Be Used in Trial

A judge on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether statements made to union representatives by the Chicago officer charged with killing Laquan McDonald can be used by prosecutors in court.

A lawyer for the Fraternal Order of Police testified that there is an expected "priviledge" in the union's contract, protecting statements Van Dyke made about the shooting to two union reps on the day of the fatal October 2014 shooting.

Van Dyke’s lawyers are looking to block prosecutors from using those statements, arguing the officer was essentially forced to answer questions that might incriminate him or risk losing his badge.

The judge in the case delayed a decision whether those statements can be used by prosecutors during the murder trial.

The defense also revealed Wednesday that it plans to file a motion for a "change of venue."

"We're certainly going to raise a change of venue motion," van Dyke's attorney Dan Herberg said. "We may raise another motion as well regarding a vindictive and selective prosecution." 

At a pre-trial hearing in June, Judge Vincent Gaughan issued a split decision, ruling statements and reports from Van Dyke’s interviews with a detective were fair game for prosecutors but facts generated from him during conversations with a street deputy the night of the shooting were off limits.

Three officers have been charged with obstruction of justice and official misconduct for allegedly trying to cover up Van Dyke’s actions on the night of the shooting.

Van Dyke, who was charged with first-degree murder in the case, is currently free on bond and has pleaded not guilty. The judge will take up the matter again in a hearing on Aug. 11. 

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