Judge denies request to have Chauvin tried with other former officers charged in Floyd killing

From left: Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Photo: Hennepin County Jail. From left: Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

Updated: January 21, 2021 04:30 PM
Created: January 21, 2021 10:02 AM

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill denied a motion on Thursday asking him to reconsider having two separate trials for the former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd.

With the decision, Derek Chauvin's jury trial will begin on March 8, as scheduled. Then, former officers Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao will remain joined for trial starting on Aug. 23. 

State asks judge to reconsider separate trials in Floyd case due to 'potentially catastrophic consequences for public health'

On Tuesday, prosecutors asked Cahill to reconsider trying Chauvin in March, arguing that two separate trials would increase the number of court appearances — and the chances for exposure to the coronavirus. The state also pointed to being early in the vaccination timetable and the potential prevalence of a new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 as reasons for delaying the trial.

Cahill's denial rebuts that claim by stating that social distancing requirements make it a "present impossibility" to hold a trial with all four defendants anywhere in the Hennepin County Government Center.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Kueng, Lane and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

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