Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Requests Change of Venue in George Floyd Murder Case

Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Requests Change of Venue in George Floyd Murder Case

March 31, 2021 0 By Stephen Callahan

Chauvin’s attorney has asked the judge in charge of the murder case of George Floyd to change the venue and delay the trial. The attorney raised concern that following the city of Minneapolis’s recent announcement that an agreement had been made with Floyd’s family to pay $27 million as a settlement for Floyd’s death could have swayed the jury.

The attorney, Eric Nelson, questioned the settlement’s timing, arguing that it did not favor Derek Chauvin. He asked Judge Peter Cahill to call the jurors and challenge their knowledge concerning the settlement and whether they can remain impartial during the trial.

Eric criticized Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis City Council openly suggesting that the move was intended to sway the public. Nelson said, “It is profoundly disturbing to the defense because the goal of this system is to provide a fair trial. This is not fair.”

Judge Cahill did not give an immediate ruling, but he shared with Nelson’s request that the new announcement was “concerning.” The defense attorney requested the city officials to stop giving talks about the case, though his investigations did not show any malicious intentions to tamper with the matter.

Hennepin County District Judge agreed to recall the jurors before March 29. He also affirmed that he would consider other defense motions before proceeding with the jury’s selection. Steve Schleicher, one of the prosecutors in the case, requested Judge Cahill to look at possible effects before making a decision. The prosecutor cited that while the court can control witnesses, evidence, and motions, it has no control over the news cycle, civil aspect of the case, and Minneapolis City Council.

The news of the settlement was announced on Friday afternoon. Observers in the murder case also questioned the timing of the announcement. In a similar case in 2019, the city paid $20 million to Justine Damond’s family after being shot by a Minneapolis police officer. It was after the conviction of the former officer that the settlement was made public.

The White police officer, Derek Chauvin, was recorded with his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes leading to the death of the Black man. Chauvin is currently facing 2nd and 3rd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Along with Chauvin, three other officers charged in the case that generated public uproar are Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao, and Thomas Lane. They will be tried separately in August 2021.