Mar 19, 2021 - News

Judge declines to move or delay Derek Chauvin trial

a sign saying justice for george floyd
A man changes the number of a sign board at a makeshift memorial of George Floyd before the third day of jury selection on March 10, 2021. Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

The trial of former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd will continue in Minneapolis as scheduled, despite concerns over pre-trial publicity, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled Friday.

Driving the news: Chauvin's attorney had asked the judge to postpone or move the trial following last Friday's announcement that the city of Minneapolis reached a $27 million civil settlement with Floyd's family.

  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued he was "gravely concerned" that news coverage of the record payout had "incredible potential to taint the jury pool."

What he's saying: Cahill said while he's frustrated by the timing of the city's announcement, "unfortunately, I think the pre-trial publicity in this case will continue no matter how long we continue it."

  • He said a change of venue would not "give the defendant any kind of fair trial beyond what we are doing here today."
  • "I don't think there's any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity in this case."

The big picture: A move or delay would have upended one of the world's most closely watched trials, two weeks into the jury selection process.

  • City and state officials have spent months — and millions of dollars — to lock down the area surrounding the downtown courtroom amid concerns about large crowds and civil unrest.

Between the lines: Some experts say the settlement news could be grounds for an eventual appeal or mistrial from Chauvin's defense.

What's next: Jury selection continues ahead of opening statements on May 29.

For more coverage of the trial, sign up for Axios Twin Cities, a newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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