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Attorneys want trial moved in missing Chinese scholar case

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Yingying Zhang, Brendt Christensen

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) _ Attorneys for a man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China are asking a judge to dismiss a main charge against him and change the location of his trial.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that 28-year-old Brendt Christensen’s attorneys filed 12 pretrial motions Monday, including six to exclude evidence they say was improperly obtained.

Christensen faces charges including kidnapping resulting in the death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Her body has not been found. His attorneys argue that charge should be dismissed because prosecutors lack evidence Zhang was coerced or forced into Christensen’s car.

Christensen’s attorneys are asking that the Feb. 27 federal trial be moved from Urbana to Rock Island or Chicago. They cite what they call “inflammatory and inherently prejudicial pretrial publicity” about the case in the Urbana area.