The attorney for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer of Minneapolis charged for the death of George Floyd, has requested for a delay and relocation of the trial, pointing to concerns about the impact of the settlement the city had reached with Floyd’s family.
“I am gravely concerned with the news that broke on Friday related to the civil settlement,” the defense lawyer Eric Nelson told the judge on Monday, according to The Hill. “The fact that this came in the exact middle of jury selection is perplexing to me, your honor.”
Nelson told Judge Peter Cahill of Hennepin County District Court before his motion this was the third “highly prejudicial and incredibly prejudicial press leak or press release” he has experienced during the case “that has very suspicious timing, to say the least, and has an incredible propensity to taint a jury pool,” Fox News reported.
Cahill responded that he didn’t see any “evil intent” in the city council unanimously voting for the settlement Friday, although Nelson’s point was “legitimate,” according to The Hill.
Cahill said he would think about delaying the trial. He also granted one of Nelson’s motions, to bring the selected jurors before back in to verify the influence of the news.
Chauvin is charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and one count of second-degree.
Nelson also mentioned that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s son is a Minneapolis City Council member.
“I’m not accusing Mr. Ellison of anything. I just want to make that very clear,” Nelson said. “It is profoundly disturbing to the defense because, ultimately, the goal of this system is to provide a fair trial and this is not fair.”
The prosecutor of the case, special attorney for the State Steven Schleicher, responded by saying that the defense attorney was trying to mislead, according to Fox. Even though the relation is there, “they’re not coordinating anything in this regard. The mayor is a lawyer. The mayor has a job to do—he certainly doesn’t take direction from me.”
The court selected two more jurors on Monday, taking the total number to nine—two of the jurors are Black, one Hispanic, one multiracial, and five white.
An eight juror is a black man in his 30s. He said he saw the bystander viral video of Floyd’s May 25 arrest. He pledged that he would remain objective.
The ninth juror is a white woman in her 50s. She also said she had viewed the bystander video of Floyd’s arrest, adding that she is not in a position to change the law but to uphold the law. She said she considers Chauvin “innocent until we can prove otherwise,” according to the StarTribune.