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updated: 1/31/2018 2:57 PM

Prosecutors OK with delaying trial in scholar's kidnapping

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CHICAGO -- Federal prosecutors in the case of a former physics student charged with the kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China say they don't object to delaying the trial now that the government is seeking the death penalty.

Wednesday's filing by central Illinois prosecutors follows a request by Brendt Christensen's lawyers last week to push back the Feb. 27 trial on grounds it'll take more time to prepare for the complexities of a capital punishment case.

Government attorneys announced Jan. 19 that they'll seek the death penalty. They say it's called for, including because Christensen allegedly tortured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang before killing her.

Prosecutors say they've been talking to the defense about a new trial date. The presiding judge would also have to give his approval.

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