MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The attorney for Amy Senser is asking for a change of venue for her upcoming trial in the hit-and-run death of a 38-year-old man last August.

A judge ruled Friday morning that Senser is to stand trial on criminal vehicular homicide charges in the death of Anousone Phanthavong, who was killed on Aug. 23, 2011 after being struck by a vehicle along the Riverside Avenue exit from westbound Interstate 94.

Last month, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office filed a memorandum opposing defense attorney Eric Nelson’s motion to dismiss Senser’s charges, saying “sufficient evidence exists to establish probable cause for each of the charges in the complaint.”

The amended charges claimed that Senser should’ve had at least four seconds to notice Phanthavong on the side of the road. The charges also included a statement from a witness who claimed to have seen Senser’s vehicle driving erratically, dipping between lanes and moving at inconsistent speeds.

On Friday, at a pretrial hearing, a judge ruled the charges will stand and the case should proceed to trial.

The next steps in the case include a motion hearing on April 16 with Judge Daniel H. Mabley preceding a jury trial currently scheduled to begin April 23. Senser has formally filed pleas of not guilty to the charges.

Nelson also filed a motion to change the trial’s venue, citing numerous comments on local media outlets’ comment sections.

“We don’t believe it is possible for Mrs. Senser to receive a fair and impartial trial in Hennepin County. As a result of the intense media speculation and what we’re able to actually see through Facebook and other social media … are literally thousands and thousands of comments, most of which express either violent reactions or violent sexual reactions towards Mrs. Senser — threats to her safety, her families safety, my safety,” said Nelson. “And the bulk of these comments come form Twin Cities residents.”

Nelson said the defense is taking the position that Hennepin County has “inserted its opinion improperly” by “deliberately misstating pieces of evidence.”

Nelson said they would like to suggest moving the trial to Kandiyohi County.

“Ultimately that decision — if the judge grants the change of venue motion — the judge would decide where,” said Nelson. “At this state in the proceedings, the presumptions are all favoring the state. And it doesn’t change the defense in any way whatsoever, it simply moves it into a different form where the presumptions will favor Mrs. Senser.”

Senser is the wife of former Minnesota Vikings player Joe Senser.

Comments (60)
  1. kp says:

    This should be interesting to see if she gets special treatment because she has money and we all know they play by different rules. How long did it take her to come forward and say it was her car that hit this guy? How any one can live with themselves after doing this is beyond me. I would have a hard time waiting so long.

    1. pumphandle- says:

      How do you live with yourself now?

    2. John Q Law says:

      “This should be interesting to see if she gets special treatment because she has money and we all know they play by different rules.”

      I disagree. In fact, I argue that once these high-profile cases involving celebrities, police officers, etc. are made public, those people are LESS likely to receive any kind of special treatment, as the judge and prosecutors will want to ensure there’s no appearance of impropriety. I submit to you that she’s being treated as anyone else would in that situation.

      Many will say that because Amy Senser has financial means that others don’t, she was able to avoid justice longer than anyone else would have. To them, I say this: With laywers, like anything else, you get what you pay for. I’d bet that Senser’s lawyer has more training and/or experience than would a public defender you’d get for free. Amy wouldn’t be granted a public defender anyways, by virtue of the fact she DOES have money. So you naysayers can complain all you want. The scales of justice are working as they would for anyone else. The justice system shouldn’t be criticized for special treatment just because Amy Senser has the ability to post her bail and get out of jail, while Joe Paycheck wouldn’t be able to.

      1. John Q Public says:

        Actually, any non-celebrity would already be in jail after failing to stop at a scene of an accident.

      2. I Know Everything Just Ask Me says:

        As you said: “The justice system shouldn’t be criticized for special treatment just because Amy Senser has the ability to post her bail and get out of jail, while Joe Paycheck wouldn’t be able to.” …………really? you’ve just proven that because of money she gets a better chance, which according to our law is not being equal……..you rationalize like a defense attorney that has trouble sleeping at night

        1. I Know Everything Just Ask Me says:

          which was my point to begin with…..and nowhere do I state that this is something I just figured out…further more your take on John Q Law isn’t even close as he says “The scales of justice are working as they would for anyone else”….wrong…try again

        2. Kevin says:

          What content of my comment would lead you to believe i “came out on the short end”

          It is my opinion and i stand by it. If you disagree, maybe i’m not dumb or misinformed…perhaps it is you my friend. Just a thought.

          @I know everything…..it was implied, at least I interpreted to imply…they would for anyone else….with her same means. Meaning her notiatrity is not giving her special treatment. You read something differnt into that?

          Second…you stated, “because of money she gets a better chance, which according to our law is not being equal”. What “law” are you refering too? One you made up about things supposed to be equal? Everyone has the RIGHT to life, liberity and pursuit of justice…plese dont confuse that with ENTITLED


          1. Brainless Kevin says:

            @Kevin….ok so you admit that she is getting the same treatment that anyone with money would get…..but yet that treatment is different than what others get…your opinion is laughable & nonlinear……keep the comedy coming

  2. scott says:

    Jury selection will be huge in whether she walks or not. Make sure none of them ever enjoyed a meal at a joe sensers restaurant ! LOL

    1. R U kidding says:

      “Enjoyed” a meal? I ate there once. It was enough for me.

      1. red says:

        I will never go there Gag me

        1. Sally says:

          You all know the restaurant is a name, and he does not run them right?

  3. steve says:

    She didn’t call police until after the news story revealed that police knew the make and model of the vehicle.

    1. Gracie says:

      SHE never called police, Steve. Her lawyer contacted police the following day after being retained by the Sensers and advised police the vehicle may have been involved in the accident. The lawyer is smart & didn’t notify the police until it was too late for the media to make it the lead story on the 10:00 news. I can’t believe how simplistic people are on this feed. The woman has the resources to hire a fine attorney & is receiving fine representation. Let’s not forget that the victim here was all coked up. There are no witnesses & Hennepin County has plenty of theories without any credible evidence that she knew she hit someone. That said, my bet is she walks.

  4. mwallek says:

    This is a good thing. If she is guilty, then she deserves prison, not only for the crime but for trying to duck responsibility. Any attempt to delay the trial should not be allowed. Priviledge is not something she deserves, nor, if guilty, should she be allowed to skate. The family of the victim deserves justice.

  5. desert eagle .50 says:

    She’s entitled to best defense money can buy. If you were on trial, who would you want to defend you, Jackactionqu**ro?

    Please be specific.

    1. I Know Everything Just Ask Me says:

      @desert eagle ….I would want an intelligent defense attorney that thinks like you…cause you sound really intelligent….extraordinary post on your part…just knowing that you will come back & read this post makes me think you are a genius…..

  6. StatesGuidelines says:

    Over and Over again we have seen John Q Public get slaps on the wrist for this same kind of crime. Repeat offenders get off with 18 months jail time. so when Amy gets 180 days in workhouse and 5 years probation do not be upset or shocked!

  7. Interested says:

    She already knows she’s guilty of murdering a man using her vehicle as the primary weapon. And everyone in the state of Minnesota knows she’s guilty. The question will then be can she receive a fair trial in Minnesota? When she is found guilty, her attorney and family will all be calling for a mistrial by blaming either the selected jury pool or publicity surrounding the trial. Very interested in seeing how this one turns out.

    1. bright&sunny says:

      Thank you.
      Please, just lock her up already. I am tired of seeing her be free after murdering a man.

      1. Uncle_Rico says:

        She didn’t “murder” anyone.

        1. Mark Estes says:

          She did. Hitting someone with your vehicle causing them to die is considered “murdering” in my book. Idiot.

    2. llp says:

      Yes her lawyer made sure to keep in the papers and on TV knowing he would taint the jury pool and use it to his avantage. He has already had his case presented so now he can ask for a change of venue.

  8. Interested says:

    You of all people know how the civil laws in this state work. People would have a lot more respect for her or any other criminal for that matter if they owned up to their crimes. Its as though they are allowed to intensionally lie about what actully took place until someone can prove that they are actually guilty. And there is no question about whether or not she hit and killed an innoccent man.

    1. mark trail says:

      You do realize this has nothing to do with civil law, it is a criminal case?

  9. saywhat ? says:

    “So what you’re saying is that anyone and everyone charged with a crime should just roll over and plead guilty by virtue of the fact they’ve been accused of wrongdoing?” So what are you saying officer friendly ? That if you commit a crime and know you did it, you should still do everything in your power to avoid punishment ? Is that what you learned while studying to become an officer ? I thought police were concerned with upholding the law. I was charged with an assault once that involved myself and one other person with no other witnesses. I had a chance to speak with an attorney who was prepared to plan my defense. The only problem is, I would have had to lie and claim that I was innocent. It would have been my word against that of the other party but I didn’t feel that I could go to court and lie to the judge so I didn’t. There was really nothing the attorney could do to help me. Why can’t Amy just come out and tell the truth about what really happened and accept whatever punishment she deserves according to the law ? She obviously knows what happened that night, and if she was too drunk to remember, but there is proof that her car was involved in an accident that night that killed someone then she should pay the price.

  10. Reality says:

    By far one of the ugliest women I have ever seen. Can we say Leatherface?

    1. That's what a sex change operation looks like says:

      That’s not a woman – look closely, if you can stand to…

      1. Jealous & Envy says:

        Look in the mirror and you will not only see a sex change gone bad but also a middle aged white guy that is so mad at society (because he is a loser) that he has to bash others……how close was my profile on you….dead on…..your type are easy to spot

        1. ^ What's that? It's Pat! ^ says:

          Based on that comment, we figure you’re either Joe, or a hermaphrodite who Daddy teased through your entire childhood. It’s okay though, ’cause society still needs someone to point their finger at saying “What’s that?! It’s Pat!”


    2. Reality says:

      Must be one of the Ugly ones. For only the Ugly defend the Ugly.

  11. stubby says:

    Prove it was her driving the car. I say she’s covering for her daughter. Why was she getting off on that exit? East bank of U of M….why there?

    1. mwallek says:

      If true, still give her the same prison term.

    2. Suzi N. says:

      I agree. Witnesses saw a young blonde woman driving the vehicle erratically before the accident. The daughter lived in the area at the time and would have taken that exit to get home. If it was her daughter driving, when Amy Senser acknowledged that it was her vehicle involved, but she did not remember hitting anyone, technically it would have been the truth. I can understand a mother wanting to take the fall for her child, but if I was her daughter I couldn’t live with the guilt of killing someone, or letting someone else take the blame.

      Most drivers convicted of vehicular manslaughter in Hennepin County are sentenced to a year in the Workhouse. Regardless of who was driving that night, if Amy wants to admit fault, she should at least get the same sentence as everyone else. But she deserves more for dragging the poor guy up the exit ramp, fleeing the scene, trying to avoid being caught, and being pathetic enough to allow her lawyer to pin the blame on the victim.

    3. unclelooney says:

      There are bars there? She’s a cougar?

  12. do do says:

    so i took 8 months to figure out she should stand trial??????? Very logical minnesota….

  13. Wilson says:

    She killed a man and left the scene of an accident, ” officer friendly” you can not tell me, the average JOE would be handled the same way!!

  14. Wilson says:

    @officer friendly, No way average JOE would have been handled the same way. She killed a man she did not dent a bumper and only came forth after the media and the police were at her door three times. I did not know you could be released on this crime without posting bail or a bond.

    1. bright&sunny says:

      Damn right, an average JOE would NOT be free and out roaming the streets still until this day. Average Joe’s get time because they cannot afford lawyers like the Sensers can!

    2. the daily funny says:

      You can be released if you’re not CHARGED… She was not charged immediately.

  15. S.STANLEY says:

    now they want to move the trial. they’re shopping for a county that gives more not guilty verdicts. don’t let them move

  16. mwallek says:

    Is this idiot serious? He must be joking. Nobody with intelligence can make this sort of linkage.

  17. Super PAC See BS says:

    Cars have the right of way on the freeway — and the Supreme Court dismissed a case involving a black guy who hit someone.

    14th Amendment says that ruling applies to Amy too.

    1. Brainless Kevin says:

      It’s open to interpretation & yours is pretty silly…

      1. See BS says:

        Local Media deprives people of having a fair and impartial trial, by making news storys with mug shots to make people appear guilty before even stepping into a courtroom.

        It’s called “Fascism”

        1. finally!!! says:

          no, its call ‘what she is’ QUILTY!!! many yrs in prison for you Amy S, justice is along time in coming for that laotion man she Killed!!!

  18. Molly says:

    “Officer Friendly”…no doubt you are Amy Sensors cop- brother. IF Amy had been a honorable decent person she would of stopped after hittin that man called 911 and waitied with him til help arrived, admitted what she had done and taken RESPONSIBILITY!!!!. But b/c shes a despicable disgusting person she hit the man fled the scene leaving him to die and hid out til her alchol wore off….thinking ONLY of herself not once of that poor young man she mowed over. she lies and cont’s to lie and her dispicable lawyer is lying for her and blaming the victim Overdue for justice to be done.!!! Amy in prison along time.

  19. Rufus Larkin says:

    Amy Senser cannot avoid her Bertha any more than Denny Hecker can avoid his Bubba.

  20. Joe S. says:

    Just hang the hor and get this over with!!

  21. Dale Gribble's wise ol' Pappa says:

    I dunno – she is rich, whiter than virgin snow that’s been doggy wizzed anyway and she wants a venue change huh
    Well – I’d like the weetch to get it granted but to another state. Mississippi or Louisiana. Where they really don’t show no preference to a white babe. They treat yo’all fair.
    Get the ropes ready

  22. Good!! says:

    GOOD!!! I’m glad the Judge saw thru this ‘ridiculous’ notion that Amy’s moron lawyer put out there,,,,to have this trial tossed-out on the grounds of no evidence. There is mountains of evidence against her and he knows it….if he can’t have it thrown out he’ll go back to blaming the victim. What a low-life!!!! Amy deserves to go to jail for along time for what shes done. This would of been such a different case had she admitted to what she did (killing that man) and taking responsibility. What is she teaching her daughters? when you commit a crime, run & hide and then deny&lie. and buy a cheesy lawyer to lie for ya. long time in jail for you Amy, maybe you’ll find the Lord and come clean, can only hope.

  23. Perry says:

    The prosecutor is a flaming incompetent butt wad.

  24. nonyabiz says:

    R they sure it wasn’t any CRACK or Meth involced…cuz She looks like an ADDICT!!! to Me!!!!

  25. Grieving Mom says:

    Defense attorneys are JUST as big of sleaze bags as the criminal parasites they defend. They put blame on everyone else . WHY should these criminals continue to get ANY more chances then what they took away from the innocent ones they killed with their irresponsible reclkless criminal choice to drink and drive. getting behind the wheel of a 3000 lb weapon of stelll while drunk is ATTEMPTED MURDER ! Yet they seem to get the benefit of the doubt. My son was killed as a pedestrian here in Rochester Nov, 2010, this very high profile trial concluded Jan 11. The jury found the parasite GUILTY of 3rd degree murder and ALL 21 charges with deliberating ONLY 3 and a half hours. We have been following the Sensor case and Vanhandel case VERY CLOSELY being 90 miles away. WAKE UP criminal defense attorneys the public is getting TIRED of drunk drivers getting their hands slapped, its time for justice !

    1. Sorrytohear says:

      So sorry to hear of your loss, your dear son, to a senseless crime by a drunk driver. So glad the jury found your sons killer quilty. I’m hopeing the same outcome will be for the killer Amy Senser. She needs to spend alot of time in prison for her reckless criminal behavior. and I agree with you about defense attorneys….they are the lowest of the low-lifes, they will purposely lie for their client to get them off and they will, like in this case, blame the victim. How appauling!!! I’m hopeing Amy Sensers jury does the only right thing….find her QUILTY!!!! and away to prison for a long time

  26. Marcus Bachmann says:

    She is a fine woman. I imagine right now she is in church repenting her ways…or should be. Hmmm – dares she?

  27. Jay says:

    I THINK we should all WAIT for the evidence to be presented. There is more to the story than the media presents. How easy it is to judge someone when all the facts arent presented. No, I dont know Senser or anyone connected to the case. A recent trial of a murder suspect opened up my mind ,when a juror defended the process with details the public wasnt made aware of. UNTIL, you or I face the same day in court, well never know the agonizing pain of trying to defend oneself in court for something they did not do, and to the public. Detectives ARENT stupid, there are ways they can prove if someones description of the incident is true or not .

  28. Slice n Dice says:

    How soon can we end this silliness, lock her up and then let her go when she’s paid the price? What a pathetic soul and what a waste of time and money.
    I wish there was a way that, if found guilty in a court, you/yours had to reimburse for costs.
    A lot of this stall bs would end. Better for us and better for the perp. I don’t imagine she sleeps to well at night – and if she does then, well, I dunno. Maybe the ones who are calling for her head may be smarter than the rest of us after all.
    Pleade it Senser and lets move on

  29. Nothern Wolf says:

    forget Senser for a day and lets charge that sleazy attorney of her with obstruction of justice or something. Heck – I got bloodsuckers and leeches that have more scruples than this flea bag

  30. Puppies for all says:

    Have any of you people ever gone through the justice system?
    This is the way it works, she’s not getting special treatment at all. If you can afford to buy your way out you get out of the system with minimum time behind bars, if you can’t pay the fees you get stuck in the system and will do maximum time, now you are a meal ticket.

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