Accused kidnapper's lawyers to seek more time from court

Accused kidnapper's lawyers to seek more time from court

URBANA — Attorneys representing Brendt Christensen want more time to prepare their defense of the former UI graduate student who is charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang.

With just three weeks until Christensen's federal kidnapping trial was scheduled by U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long to begin, Tom Bruno said Tuesday that his Urbana law firm plans to ask the court for more time, as is customary.

"We expect to file a motion to continue the trial which will either be joined in by the government, or will not be opposed by the government, as both sides know that much more discovery is yet to be delivered by the government to the defendant, such as forensic lab reports," Bruno wrote in an email to The News-Gazette.

Bruno said the motion hasn't been filed but fully expects the Sept. 12 date to be "vacated and rescheduled."

Eleven days ago, the government provided Christensen's attorneys with the first batch of discovery — in the form of more than 1,000 pages of police reports from federal and state law-enforcement agencies, Bruno said, adding: "We understand the government's evidence will also include several terabytes of video collected from various sources."

Bruno said Christensen, who is being held without bail in the Macon County Jail, will make his fourth appearance at the federal courthouse in Urbana for a pretrial hearing, set for Monday.

It has been 74 days since Ms. Zhang was last seen. The FBI has said she is presumed to be dead.