April 14, 2021

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Derek Chauvin Trial May Be Delayed Over Court Ruling – The New York Times

3 min read

When prosecutors sought to reintroduce the third-degree murder charge in February, Judge Cahill rejected their arguments, saying that he disagreed with the appeals court ruling, and that it was not binding because the Minnesota Supreme Court could still overturn it.

An appeals court judge wrote in an 18-page decision on Friday that Judge Cahill had erred by saying he was not required to follow the precedent of the Noor case. The appeals panel of three judges ordered the lower court to reconsider the state’s motion to add back the third-degree murder charge and said Judge Cahill could decide to hear additional arguments from Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer against the motion.

Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general, said in a statement that he agreed with the court’s decision and that prosecutors “look forward to presenting all charges to the jury.”

Opening statements in Mr. Chauvin’s trial were expected to begin on March 29, after a weekslong jury selection process. City officials have erected security barriers around government buildings and business owners have begun boarding up storefronts. The National Guard has also been deployed to secure the city and contain any protests the trial may provoke.

The death of Mr. Floyd, who gasped for air while Mr. Chauvin pressed him to the concrete with his knee outside of a convenience store, was captured on video from a bystander’s cellphone and prompted widespread protests in Minneapolis and cities and towns across the country. The episode began when a clerk at the convenience store in South Minneapolis called 911 and said Mr. Floyd had tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

Three other officers who were seen in the video trying to arrest Mr. Floyd, two of whom were rookies, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and are scheduled to go on trial in August. They were fired with Mr. Chauvin one day after Mr. Floyd’s death.

Just days after Mr. Floyd died, Mr. Chauvin agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder and go to prison for more than 10 years, but the plea deal was upended when it was rejected by William P. Barr, who was then the United States attorney general.

The federal government had been in talks to sign onto the plea deal so Mr. Chauvin would not face federal charges in the future. But Mr. Barr ultimately rejected the deal, in part because Minnesota’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, was preparing to take over the case from the county prosecutor, and Mr. Barr wanted to let Mr. Ellison decide whether to negotiate a plea or take the case to trial.

Shaila Dewan and Matt Furber contributed reporting.

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