Updated 12/18/15 – 2:44 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The lawyer for the Chicago police officer charged with the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald said he plans to ask for a change of venue before trial, claiming Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s criticism of his client has tainted the potential jury pool.
A Cook County grand jury indicted Officer Jason Van Dyke on six counts of murder and one count of official misconduct on Tuesday, three weeks after prosecutors filed the original murder charge against him.
Van Dyke appeared before Cook County Judge James R. Brown, who scheduled the officer’s arraignment for Dec. 29, when he will enter a formal plea to the charges. The case also was transferred to the presiding judge of the criminal division, who will assign a trial judge before Van Dyke’s arraignment.
The indictment accuses Van Dyke of shooting McDonald without lawful justification, knowing his actions created a strong possibility of death. The official misconduct charge essentially says, while acting as an officer of the law, Van Dyke willingly broke the law.
The seven-count indictment against Van Dyke came as no surprise to his attorney, Daniel Herbert, who said he intends to file a motion asking for a change of venue based on the massive amount of pretrial publicity, much of which he believes has come from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Quite frankly Exhibit A is going to be the mayor and his comments, and we’re going to have to find a county that is outside of the reach of the mayor’s comments,” Herbert said.