A defense attorney representing the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death asked a judge to delay his trial, citing the city’s announcement of a $27 million wrongful death settlement with Floyd’s family.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson told Judge Peter Cahill on Monday that he believes this settlement, which is the biggest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history, will make it impossible for there to be a fair trial for former officer Derick Chauvin, according to The Associated Press.
“I am gravely concerned with the news that broke on Friday. [The announcement] has incredible potential to taint the jury pool,” Nelson told the AP. He asked Judge Peter Cahill to either delay Chauvin’s trial, or reconsider moving it to another city. He hopes to ensure his client is not already considered guilty in the court of public opinion due to the large settlement and the exposure this case has received over the last year. Cahill said he would consider the motion to delay, and would potentially schedule further questioning of the recently selected jurors to ensure Friday’s settlement did not sway their views one way or another.
Judge Cahill previously denied another motion from Nelson to move the trial, stating Floyd’s death has been seen everywhere and it would be “unlikely to cure the taint of potential prejudicial pretrial publicity.”
Protests erupted around the world calling for police reform after video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 killing surfaced online. Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis convenience store. After Floyd was handcuffed and detained, Chauvin held his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for almost nine minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s last words became a rallying cry for demonstrators around the world as they demanded the officers responsible for his death be charged and sentenced.
Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Jury selection could take another few weeks before Chauvin appears in court. The remaining three officers are expected to face trial in August.