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George Floyd Hearing: Judge On Dismissal Requests, Trial Venue, Boots Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman

"Judge says he will not admit any criminal records involving #GeorgeFloyd when Floyd lived in Texas."

   DailyWire.com
In this handout provided by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the death of George Floyd .
via Getty Images

On Friday morning, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his first in-person appearance at a hearing for the case of George Floyd, a black man who died in May during an attempted arrest in Minneapolis.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers with him during the attempted arrest have also been charged.

According to reporting from journalist and WCCO-TV anchor Esme Murphy, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said during the hearing that defendants’ dismissal requests would not be on the table during this hearing, but noted that the legal teams should not “read anything into that,” suggesting dismissal of charges are still possible.

“Judge in George Floyd case says he will not consider probable cause motions today which means he won’t be deciding motions to dismiss these cases but the Judge also said ‘don’t read anything into that,'” reported Murphy via Twitter. 

The defense has urged the judge for a trial venue change, but the judge said Friday that there needs to at least be an attempt to assemble a jury before a venue change is considered:

Defense attorney Paule says ‘I have never had a case [where] the prosecution announces on TV my client is guilty’ – we have a jury that has been told ‘my client is guilty’ as he argues for change of venue #GeorgeFloyd,” Murphy reported. 

“There is not a county or state in this country that has not had publicity in the George Floyd case,” the judge reportedly said.

“Defense Attorney Paule fires back ‘we have had cities ablaze because of these cases’ saying jurors in [Minneapolis] will feel pressure to find former officers guilty,” reported Murphy, adding: “Judge is arguing that there should be an attempt to first find a jury in Hennepin County before considering a change of venue [George Floyd] case.”

Murphy also reported that Judge Cahill “says he has gotten barrage of calls from the public, most urging him not to dismiss the case,” and “seems to be on the side of keeping jury anonymous.”

The defense is arguing for an anonymous jury, citing protests at union leader Lt. Bob Kroll’s home and a lead prosecutor having to leave his house over threats:

“Derek Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson says in first week of case he received more than 1000 unsolicited emails most of them threatening,” Murphy reported. 

Current issue being debated w/ some intensity is matter of an ‘anonymous jury,'” journalist Paul Blume said. “Judge & defense attys sharing stories [about] how often they’ve been threatened & the amount of public scrutiny they’ve [received]. There is real worry abt safety of a potential jury.”

Blume added: “Judge reiterated there will be NO DECISION today on dismissing any charges in case. Change of venue motion got lots of time this [morning]. Sounds like Cahill wants to wait on that one, perhaps all way up to trial itself. He indicated he wants to screen a potential local jury pool 1st.”

Later in the hearing, several defense attorneys asked for removal of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, reported Murphy, “including Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin Attorney.”

“Nelson arguing Freeman is potentially a witness because he met with Dr. who performed autopsy on [George Floyd].”

Judge Cahill complied: “Judge just disqualified members of the Hennepin County Attorney’s office, including Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman from the case – they could be witnesses – calls their actions ‘sloppy.'”

Defense attorneys then raised the issue of Floyd’s criminal past, which triggered the judge to raise his voice, questioning the “relevance” to the case, according to reports from inside the court room:

“Defense Attorney Plunkett also wants records of a May 2019 incident in which Plunkett alleges [George Floyd] took drugs during an encounter with police, Defense of all 4 former officers claims Floyd swallowed fentanyl during the fatal encounter,” Murphy reported.

Judge Cahill said “he will not admit any criminal records involving [George Floyd] when Floyd lived in Texas.”

Judge Cahill also reportedly said “‘a pill was visible’ in [George Floyd’s] mouth in [former Officer] Thomas Lane body camera footage.”

The judge later ordered Chauvin’s past “incident” to be disclosed to other attorneys.

Before adjourning the hearing, Judge Cahill reportedly said “prosecutors ‘have made a show of particular cruelty’ in [George Floyd] death – that would be an ‘aggravating factor’ that could allow for a longer sentence if former officers are convicted.”

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