Juror names in Chauvin trial to be released next week

A Hennepin County judge has granted a request to release the names of all 14 sworn and alternate jurors in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

A coalition of local and national media outlets — of which 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is a member — petitioned the court in August to release the names of the jurors, as well as the completed juror questionnaires for all 109 prospective jurors. District Judge Peter Cahill approved the motion on Monday, and the names and questionnaires are set to be released on Nov. 1.

The media coalition includes most major Twin Cities media outlets — KMSP, KARE, WCCO, the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio — and some national publications, such as the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Associated Press.

The Aug. 4 filing by the coalition states media outlets waited through the trial, verdict and sentencing and then another three months before asking for the jurors’ names to be revealed.

In his ruling on Monday, Cahill said judicial records are presumed to be public in Minnesota under court rules and common law, warranting public access to some of the juror records, unless "a strong reason exists" to believe the jury would continue to need protection half a year after the trial or making the information public could interfere with "the fair and impartial administration of justice."

The public will only be able to access the jury records at the Hennepin County Government Center, and the documents will not include any information regarding the jurors’ names and phone numbers. Jurors will be allowed to provide email addresses directly to the lawyers representing the media coalition.

A jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on April 20. He was sentenced to 22½ years in prison for the murder of George Floyd on June 25.

So far, two jurors and one alternate juror have already come forward and given interviews to the media. The other 11, to this point, have stayed anonymous.