The Latest: Man’s girlfriend allegedly fainted helping FBI

January 16, 2018
FILE - This photo provided by the Macon County Sheriff's Office in Decatur, Ill., shows Brendt Christensen. Attorneys for Christensen, accused of kidnapping resulting in the death of University of Illinois scholar Yingying Zhang from China, are asking a federal judge to dismiss the main charge against him and change the venue of his upcoming trial. Christensen's attorney filed 12 pretrial motions Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, including six to suppress or exclude evidence they say was illegally or improperly obtained. (Macon County Sheriff's Office via AP File)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on new filings in case of missing Chinese scholar (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

New court documents say a girlfriend of a 28-year-old man who’s accused of kidnapping a University of Illinois Chinese scholar was so nervous secretly recording him on behalf of the FBI that she at least once fainted in front of him.

The account came in a pretrial motion filed by Brendt Christensen’s lawyers Monday in Urbana. It asks a judge to exclude the June recordings from the upcoming trial on the kidnapping of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. She is presumed dead.

The girlfriend described to agents how her heart was pounding before she “went into shock and passed out while talking to” Christensen.

Among the places where she recorded him was at a vigil for Zhang’s family, friends and supporters amid the search for her. He was arrested the next day.


11 a.m.

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.

Update hourly