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Mistrial in trial of suspect in Lincoln officer’s stabbing

March 30, 2021 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The trial of a man charged with stabbing a Lincoln police officer ended in a mistrial Tuesday after one of the attorneys reported being exposed to COVID-19.

Opening statements had begun when District Judge Teresa Luther told the jury one of the attorneys in the trial of Christopher Brennauer had been exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, The Lincoln Journal Star reported.

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Brennauer, 45, was charged with first-degree assault on an officer, attempted first-degree assault on an officer, terroristic threats and three weapons-related crimes.

Prosecutors allege he stabbed Officer Kyle Russell on Dec. 29, 2018. Russell fired three shots, hitting Brennauer twice and accidentally wounding Officer Josh Atkinson.

Brennauer’s public defenders said they would be raising an insanity defense.

On Tuesday, Luther told the jurors that health department officials had said jurors did not have to quarantine at this point. The attorneys were getting tested Tuesday and informing the judge if there may have been a direct exposure, which would prompt the need to quarantine.

A new jury for the case will be called in May.