NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The City of Norfolk is calling for a change of venue in a civil case over the death of police recruit John Kohn.
Public opinions about Kohn's death are so strong and negative, the city does not think it can get a fair trial.
Attorney for the Kohn family, Jim Lewis, argued, "Just because some negative press came out during the investigation of his death, doesn't mean we can't go down to the court house and find seven people who will give both sides their day in court."
Court briefs from the City of Norfolk state, "The overall tenor of the news coverage...is quite negative...the coverage poisons the community."
City Attorney Bernard Pishko told 10 On Your Side off-camera, "You've done such a good job covering the story, and we have provided so much information that we think it virtually impossible to find people who have not formed opinions on this."
Lewis countered, "Because the truth is out for all to see, including Andy Fox to see, that we can't get a fair trial, I think that to be non-sensical."
The city also argued since training was altered to exclude head blows after Kohn died, potential jurors would be asked to disregard the exclusion when considering the verdict. The city wrote, "All it will take is one juror who remembers during the deliberations that they read this article and the case will be decided against the defendants because of it."
Lewis said, "Now they don't like the way the public has responded to the truth. In my opinion, this motion is an attempt to hide these people who know the whole story."
Lewis also thinks a change of venue to western or northern Virginia would be a financial hardship on Kohn's family.
The City of Norfolk wants the court to dismiss the civil case. The city argues the Kohn family's case is a worker compensation case, and the city is protected from certain lawsuits because of sovereign immunity.
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