Judge Cahill in Minneapolis, Minnesota warned that the trial of the four men who are former police officers, charged in the case that is connected to George Floyd’s death could be removed out of Minneapolis if public officials because family members and attorneys won’t stop speaking publicly about the case. He only stopped short of issuing a gag order against all the attorneys.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said if public statements continue it will make it hard for him to have an impartial jury. He anticipates that a change-of- venue-motion will be filed and he would be willing to grant it if it is filed.
Cahill believes the court will not be happy to hear comments on three areas; they include merits, guilt or innocence and evidence.
The judge spoke at the second pre-trial hearing for the policemen who were fired after the death of George on May 25. Derek Chauvin the 44-year-old, is now charged with second-degree murder and other counts, while the other officers Tou Thao, 34, Thomas Lane, 37, and J. Kueng, 26, were charged with aiding and abetting Chavin at the scene.
Robert Paule the attorney who represents Thao cited remarks that were made by officials like the president and others. They say Chauvin knew what he was doing because of his training and they believe he committed a murder.
Cahill has asked Mathew Frank, the Assistant Attorney General to keep public officials silent by using his influence. He also wants Floyd’s family members and the attorneys on both sides to stay away from the press also.
The judge set the possible trial date for March 8th 2021 for the 4 former officers even though it is possible that motions could be filed to have separate trials.
Chavin and Thao are incarcerated at this time and they could be the ones to be tried first and the next court date is September 11.
The attorneys representing Chauvin and Thao have not spoken about the case in the media and the attorneys who represent the other officers have tried to minimize the role played by their clients during the murder.
They plan to deflect blame to Chauvin, the senior officer. He also plans to tell his client to plead not guilty and then he will say it was authorized use of force, reasonable use of force and self-defense.
Lane and Kueng are free on bond while Chauvin and Thao are both locked up with Chauvin is on $1 million bail and Thoa’s bail is set at $750,000.
Defense Attorneys have requested cameras in the courtroom, but they were prohibited by the judge. It is possible that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during the trial as the judge is thinking about it.
Some of the attorneys want the public to see the court proceedings as they believe it would help to balance what the public has heard about the case before.
“I’m not mad at anybody, I just think we need to fix the system. Racism needs to go, police brutality definitely needs to go, and we need to find some kind of equality and care for each other.” Floyd’s uncle, Selwyn Jones said.
Second-degree murder charge carries a maximum of 40 years in prison, manslaughter goes up to 10 years while 3rd-degree murder carries up to 25 years. The charges laid against Chauvin are unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The other 3 former officers who were charged with aiding and abetting were charged with second-degree manslaughter and they could carry the same penalties as Chavin’s charges.