Judge Refuses to Toss Evidence in Chinese Scholar's Kidnapping

Jan 15, 2019

A federal judge in central Illinois has denied defense motions to suppress evidence in the case of a 28-year-old man charged in the kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China.    

Judge James Shadid accepted FBI assertions that agents obtained Brendt Christensen's then-wife's voluntary consent to search their apartment as they entered. 

Investigators went there in 2017, two weeks before Christensen was charged in Yingying Zhang's kidnapping in Urbana. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, saying Christensen also tortured the 26-year-old. Her body hasn't been found.  

The now ex-wife, Michelle Zortman, has said agents searched before she consented. She's not accused of wrongdoing. 

Shadid also refused to toss jail recordings of Christensen, saying prosecutors can use them at the April trial.