The judge overseeing the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer accused in the death of George Floyd on Monday paused jury selection for at least a day while an appeal proceeds over the possible reinstatement of a third-degree murder charge.
As hundreds of protesters gathered outside the courthouse to call for the conviction of Derek Chauvin, Judge Peter Cahill said he does not have jurisdiction to rule on whether the third-degree murder charge should be reinstated against the former officer while the issue is being appealed. But he said prosecutors’ arguments that the whole case would be impacted was “tenuous.” Cahill initially ruled that jury selection would begin as scheduled on Monday, but prosecutors filed a request with the Court of Appeals to put the trial on hold until the issue is resolved. The judge then sent the potential jurors home for the day, while prosecutors tried to contact the appellate court. Cahill took a recess to give the Court of Appeals time to respond, but planned to bring attorneys back into the courtroom Monday afternoon to deal with other matters. Cahill said he would proceed with the trial unless the higher courts told him to stop. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Legal experts say reinstating the third-degree murder charge would improve the odds of getting a conviction. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, said Monday he would ask the state Supreme Court to review a Court of Appeals decision that ordered Cahill to reconsider the charge.
Jury selection is expected to take at least three weeks, as prosecutors and defense attorneys try to weed out people who may be biased against them. Today on AirTalk, we talk with experts about the legal challenges from both the prosecution and defense perspectives as the trial gets underway. Do you have questions? Call us at 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press