He argued the trial should be pushed back and moved out of Hennepin County. Nelson also asked to be able to again question seven jurors seated the first week of trial, and he sought more opportunities to remove potential jurors without reason, CNN reported. “The fact that this came in the exact middle of jury selection — it’s perplexing to me, your honor,” Nelson said, “whose idea it was to release this information when it was released.”
Retired Judge LaJune Lange told NBC-affiliated KARE-TV the criminal trial is completely separate from the civil settlement. “The jury will be instructed to decide the case only on what they have heard and seen in the courtroom,” Lange said. “So, they would not be able to consider the settlement.” She said the settlement, which is abnormally high for cases of this nature, builds on a precedent set when the family of slain emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor settled with the Kentucky city of Louisville for $12 million last September. Even though the settlement had been awarded, a grand jury decided not to charge officers accused of Taylor’s death.
“Money will not bring back George Floyd, but this $27 million civil settlement at least brings us a step closer to justice & shows the world that George Floyd’s life MATTERED & that BLACK LIVES MATTER!” attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, tweeted on Sunday. “We’ll continue the pressure until his murderer is criminally convicted.”
Attorney Mike Bryant told KARE the civil case might come up in the criminal trial, perhaps when Floyd’s family is testifying but that it shouldn’t impact either side. “You can make the argument both ways. You can make the argument (from Chauvin’s side) it was about money, or you can make the argument (from the state) that the city is sending the clear picture that the police officers did something wrong and that’s why we’re paying them what we are,” Bryant said.
Judge Peter Cahill said he would allow seated jurors to be re-questioned, but he rejected the defense’s request to get more opportunities to dismiss proposed jurors without cause, CNN reported. “I wish city officials would stop talking about this case so much,” he said, “but at the same time, I don’t find any evil intent that they’re trying to tamper with this criminal case.”
Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and as of Thursday, third-degree murder, which requires a lower burden of proof than second-degree murder. A judge initially determined the charge of third-degree murder should be tossed out in the case, but the state won an appeal allowing Cahill to reconsider the charge. Chauvin’s defense even filed a motion to present the question before the Minnesota Supreme Court, but the court ruled it wouldn’t intervene, NBC News reported. Cahill ultimately decided to reinstate the charge, according to a court document filed Saturday. Testimony in the case is expected to start no sooner than March 29, CNN reported.