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Tentative 2-week jury selection, 4-week trial format for George Floyd case

Rebecca Omastiak & Callan Gray
Updated: September 11, 2020 09:22 PM
Created: September 10, 2020 02:58 PM

Stay with KSTP.com and 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for updates throughout the day. Refresh your page to make sure you are seeing the latest information.

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12:45 p.m.

George Floyd’s family and the attorney representing them held a news conference Friday afternoon.

The news conference followed a hearing for the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd's death.

View the news conference via the video player below:


12:27 p.m.:

George Floyd's family and attorneys are expected to speak just before 1 p.m., following the hearing Friday.

After court adjourned Friday afternoon, KSTP's Eric Chaloux captured video of a few of the former officers leaving the hearing.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also spoke after the hearing.


12:20 p.m.:

Court has now adjourned following discussion on jury selection and trial format.

According to KSTP's Callan Gray, jury selection will be one by one, on the witness stand. The judge said he anticipates the jurors will complete questionnaires ahead of time. 

COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be in place during the trial, and there will be overflow rooms for family and press.

There is expected to be a two-week jury selection and a four-week trial.

Meanwhile, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank presented an argument for an upward sentence departure, stating George Floyd was particularly vulnerable because he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground, KSTP's Callan Gray reports. 


11:19 a.m.:

The motion to introduce additional evidence is now under discussion.

KSTP's Callan Gray reports documents covering two prior incidents—one at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) and another in Harris County, Texas—involving George Floyd have been brought forward for consideration.

Defense attorneys argued the HCMC incident, which took place in May 2019, reportedly shows similiarities to the current case. Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing former officer Thomas Lane, said "he did exactly the same thing."

The judge has denied the request to consider the Harris County incident, citing irrelevance to this case. He has has also denied the request to consider the HCMC incident, but it could come up at a later date.

Meanwhile, attorneys went back and forth with the judge on discovery, including what to disclose with each other.


10:50 a.m.:

After a break, the discussion is now centered on a motion to disqualify the Hennepin County Attorney's Office from prosecuting, or participating in the prosecution of, the case.

Attorney Eric Nelson, who is representing former officer Derek Chauvin, claims the attorney's office violated attorney witness law and should be disqualified.

He is also arguing discovery documents, which reference officer training, indicate attorney's office members provided training to the Minneapolis Police Department's officers.

According to the court brief, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and several of the assistant attorneys "are potential witnesses due to their interviews of Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, regarding his autopsy of George Floyd without having a non-attorney witness present."

As a result, the judge has decided Freeman and those assistant attorneys are off the case, KSTP's Callan Gray reports. The judge has not disqualified other attorneys or staff members from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office from the case.


10:03 a.m.:

The next agenda item under discussion is whether to sequester the jury.

KSTP's Callan Gray said the judge thinks, "it would be almost cruel to keep them on weeks at a time" and suggested they be "semi-sequestered."

That would involve jurors driving to court each day, being escorted by deputies from their vehicles and up a secure elevator, having lunch brought in to them, then having them escorted back to their vehicles at the end of the day.

Additionally, the judge said he believes there will be "significant" attempts to influence the jury if it is not anonymous, KSTP's Callan Gray reports.

The judge cites receiving a "barrage of calls" Thursday from members of the public giving him advice about this motion's hearing.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank there isn't evidence at this point that jurors would be influenced and disagrees with the concept of an anonymous jury.

Meanwhile, Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing former officer Thomas Lane, said he is in favor of an anonymous jury, giving a personal example of the "many, many, many threats" he has received since he took on the case.

Attorney Eric Nelson, who is representing former officer Derek Chauvin, said he is in favor of an anonymous jury.


9:44 a.m.:

The latest agenda item during Friday's hearing is discussion about a potential change of venue.

The judge said there is no deadline for this motion, KSTP's Callan Gray reports.

Meanwhile the judge suggested sending a questionnaire to potential jurors to address pre-trial publicity.

This would include questions about what juror members have potentially seen or read related to the case as well as questions about whether that has prompted them to have "made up (their) mind(s)" about the case.

Attorneys representing the officers have objected to the questionnaire, calling it "inappropriate" to rely on as well as "ripe for problems."

In response, the judge said if information from Hennepin County jurors is obtained first, they can determine whether pre-trial publicity has influenced the pool. If it hasn't, he says they don't need to look elsewhere.


9:36 a.m.:

Attorney Earl Gray, who is representing former officer Thomas Lane, is disagreeing with the state's argument that jurors could be prejudiced if there are separate trials. 

Gray said if former officer Derek Chauvin is tried first and acquitted, the other officers likely wouldn't go to trial, KSTP's Callan Gray reports.

The judge is taking the rejoinder motion under advisement.


9:23 a.m.

One of the first hearing agenda items, according to KSTP reporter Callan Gray, is prosecutors arguing for a joint trial.


9:00 a.m.:

The hearing is now underway at the Hennepin County Family Justice Center.

KSTP Reporter Eric Chaloux captured the arrival of George Floyd's family ahead of the hearing.

Meanwhile, KSTP reporter Callan Gray captured arrival video of a couple of the officers involved in the hearing.


8:30 a.m.:

Protesters have gathered ahead of a motion hearing involving the former Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd's death.

Watch coverage of the gathering via the player below:


5 a.m.

Friday, the four former officers charged in connection to the death of George Floyd will appear in court for a motion hearing. 

During the hearing, both the prosecution and defense will argue a number of motions that have been put before the court.

According to the scheduling order for the hearing, attorneys for former officers Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao will argue for a change of venue, a sequestered jury, an anonymous jury and the disqualification of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, among other items. 

The prosecution is scheduled to argue for a joint trial for the four former officers and the potential for longer sentences. 

The court will also discuss other items, such as jury selection, COVID-19 restrictions, overflow rooms for the media and observers and the trial length. 

Defense requests to dismiss charges won't be addressed at Friday's hearing. A trial is scheduled for March.

Friday's hearing will also mark the first time Chauvin is expected to appear in a courtroom. He is in state custody and has attended previous hearings via videoconference.

KSTP's complete coverage

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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