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What the judge will consider when deciding if fired LMPD Detective Brett Hankison will have his trial in Louisville

Legal expert Karl Price said pretrial publicity isn't enough to get a change in venue.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fired LMPD detective Brett Hankison faces wanton endangerment charges for his actions in the Breonna Taylor case. 

While the charges were brought about after an investigation revealed he fired bullets into a neighboring apartment the night the Louisville 26-year-old died, Hankison's attorney said the trial should not take place in Jefferson County.

"The problem with the motion is the motion solely and heavily relies on pretrial publicity," said Karl Price, former Jefferson County Prosecutor and current attorney. 

Price said pretrial publicity isn't enough to get a change in venue, saying there needs to be a connection between the publicity and "prejudice to the defendant once the trial is held."

In the request filed Feb. 2, Hankison's attorney claims a "media circus surrounds the case," going on to say "the bias and prejudice of the media has been generated against Hankison in Jefferson County."

"That doesn't mean that we can't sit as a juror and put all of the information, set all of that information aside, which the law requires, and determine the defendants innocence or guilt based upon the evidence that's presented," Price said.

Price said proving that will be hard considering the motion was filed so early-on. The motion uses local newspaper articles, social media posts and billboards put up by Oprah Winfrey as evidence.

"In a lot of these cases that have been decided by the apelet courts on change of venue, they have been change of venue motions that have been denied," Price said. "Then the court has the opportunity to evaluate whether pretrial publicity was enough to change the venue or whether the motion should have been answered. So a lot of times it's on the back end."

Price said if the change in venue was granted, the lawyers, prosecutors and judge would all go to the county that is holding the trial. While getting a change in venue is not common, Price said that in this climate, a change in venue could impact the outcome of this case.

This is the first step in the process. With a change of venue request, there has to be two affidavits from people who aren't family or involved in the case.

Hankison's attorney filed four affidavits. Of them, three of the people have the same last name. The fourth affidavit is written by Manuela Mattingly, who created the group "Support 502 Blue," which aims to help support police officers. The group was created in June of 2020, at the height of last summer's protests. 

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 25. 

RELATED: New documents in Brett Hankison case reveal additional interviews led by AG's Office in Breonna Taylor shooting

RELATED: 2 LMPD officers involved in Breonna Taylor case receive pre-termination notices

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