Amy Senser should stand trial in Hennepin County, prosecutors argue

Amy Senser is going to trial
Amy Senser is going to trial

Amy Senser's trial approaches April 23, but before a jury can be seated the Hennepin County judge overseeing the case must determine whether Senser can get a fair trial in Minneapolis.

Senser's attorney Eric Nelson requested a change of venue to Kandiyohi County earlier this month on the grounds that media attention has prejudiced potential Hennepin County jurors. Nelson cited 83 different web comments on news stories as evidence that his client can't get a fair trial in Hennepin County.

The Hennepin County attorney's office fired back in a response yesterday, pointing out that Nelson "has been speaking to the media since the day the case was charged, and more recently declaring that the defendant 'will be cleared.'"

Not only has Senser's attorney been speaking regularly with Twin Cities media, the county attorney's office points out, it's been talking to reporters in Kandiyohi County.

"A quick check of the local paper reveals that defense counsel has already spoken to local media!" wrote Deborah Russell, assistant county attorney, according to the Pioneer Press.

Many of the comments cited by Nelson "were not made by Hennepin County, or even Twin Cities residents," the prosecution argued in its response.

Senser has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide for running over True Thai's top chef, Anousone Phanthavong, off I-94's Riverside exit last August. She has admitted to running Phanthavong over but denies knowing that she hit him.

Phanthavong was filling his stalled car with gas when Senser ran him down.

The case has been controversial from the beginning due to Senser's wealth and status: Amy ran Phanthavong over in a Mercedes Benz and is the wife of Vikings legend Joe Senser. Her pending trial has attracted attention from celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern and local media personalities.

Zimmern tweeted that he looks forward to Phanthavong's "senseless death" being "exposed/detailed in court of law."

In contrast, WCCO's Esme Murphy, MPR's Bob Collins, and Star Tribune columnist Gail Rosenblum spoke out early on to defend Senser from a rush to judgment, which drew a sharp rebuke from Phanthavong's former boss, Anna Prasomphol.

We'll let you know when the judge makes his ruling. 


Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >