As his trial begins, the man who allegedly mowed through a Christmas parade in November, killing six and injuring many more, has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Darrell Brooks was formally arraigned in a brief hearing Friday, where he waived a reading of the charges and his legal team, on his behalf, entered not guilty pleas on all counts. He has been charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 71 other counts, according to the Daily Wire.
His defense counsel filed two motions into the record the day prior, which included a motion for a change of venue, either to another county or a jury pool picked from another county, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
The defense is also seeking to sequester the jury and cited widespread media coverage of the massacre in the following days, as well as support from the community, candlelight vigils for the victims, a visit from first lady Jill Biden, the closing of Waukesha schools for several days, over 500 students receiving counseling in the days afterward, and the slogan “Waukesha Strong” becoming ubiquitous throughout the town. The defense also requested to substitute the trial judge, and a hearing before the new judge is scheduled for March 11.
“While publicity is certainly relevant to determining the issue in the present case, additional factors also demonstrate that, in this case and in Waukesha County, the passions and prejudice negatively affecting the Defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial are so great that a change of venue is necessary to ensure a fair trial. An impartial trial cannot be held in Waukesha County,” the defense attorneys wrote.
Prosecutors stated that they have no intent to respond to the motions until a new hearing is held, the Journal-Sentinel added.
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