Derek Chauvin's defense requests trial delay due to Minneapolis settlement with George Floyd's family
The lawyer representing a former Minnesota police officer who is widely known for his alleged role in the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is requesting a trial delay as of Monday, March 15.
According to CNN, Derek Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson asked the court to delay Chauvin's criminal trial or re-question jurors due to a $27 million civil settlement between Minneapolis and George Floyd's family.
During the Monday morning hearing, Nelson said he is "gravely concerned" by the announcement, calling it "incredibly prejudicial."
"It's amazing to me, they had a press conference on Friday, where the mayor of Minneapolis, on stage with city council, and they're using very, what I would say, very well-designed terminology. 'The unanimous decision of the city council,' for example. It just goes straight to the heart of the dangers of pretrial publicity," Nelson said.
The defense added that a delay of the trial or more questioning of jurors would be among the appropriate remedies.
Though the prosecution acknowledged that the timing of the settlement was "unfortunate," there was still push-back against the solutions offered by the defense.
In response to the defense attorney's request, Judge Peter Cahill said he would call the seven jurors already selected in the case back and question them about the settlement. He added that he would take the defense motion for a delay under advisement.
"It's unfortunate, and I wish they hadn't done it, but I don't sense any evil intent on the timing," Cahill said.
The ramifications of that settlement were fairly obvious when the first juror questioned on Monday. The juror told the judge she "almost gasped" when she heard about the $27 million settlement and said she could not be fair to Chauvin. As a result, she was excused from the jury for cause.
According to CNN, the request came as the second week of jury selection for Chauvin's trial was underway. The death of George Floyd, the man Chuavin allegedly killed on May 25, 2020, was recorded on video and watched by millions across the globe, which led to widespread protests against police brutality and racism under the banner Black Lives Matter. Amid the peaceful protests were incidents of unrest and looting.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter charges and to third-degree murder, a charge that was reinstated in the case on Thursday.
Jury selection in the case began on March 9, and seven jurors have been seated in the case as of Monday morning, according to CNN. The news outlet notes that a total of fourteen jurors are needed, including two alternates.
Testimony is scheduled to begin in the trial no earlier than March 29.
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