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After Friday Move, Chauvin's Lawyer Is 'Gravely Concerned'

He fears $27M settlement with George Floyd's family will prevent a fair trial for ex-cop
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 15, 2021 1:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – An attorney for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death said Monday that he's "gravely concerned" that the Friday announcement of a $27 million settlement for Floyd's family makes it impossible for his client to get a fair trial. Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked for a continuance and raised the possibility of renewing his previously unsuccessful motion to move Derek Chauvin’s trial to another city. Absent a delay or change of venue, Nelson urged Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to consider giving both sides extra strikes to remove potential jurors who might be biased, and to recall the seven jurors seated last week to ask them how the settlement affected their view of the case, reports the AP.

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Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said the state had no control over Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council, and said the selected jurors already promised they could decide the case based only on evidence presented at trial. He added that it was unclear to him whether news of the settlement would "cut" in favor of the prosecution or the defense. "The problem is, it cuts," Cahill said. Cahill said he would take the request for a continuance under advisement, but didn’t think it would be appropriate to grant additional strikes to either side. He said he likely would recall the seven seated jurors for further questioning. "I wish city officials would stop talking about this case so much, but at the same time I don’t find any evil intent that they were trying to tamper with this case," Cahill said. The judge has already instructed members of the jury pool to avoid all news coverage about the case.

(Read more George Floyd stories.)

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