Judge upholds ruling allowing cameras in courtroom for George Floyd trial despite state challenge

Judge Peter A. Cahill. Photo: Minnesota Courts. Judge Peter A. Cahill.

Charlie Wiese
Updated: December 18, 2020 11:14 PM
Created: December 18, 2020 06:21 PM

Judge Peter Cahill on Friday upheld a prior Nov. 4 order that will allow cameras to be present in the courtroom for the George Floyd trial, dismissing a challenge by the state.

In its filing in mid November, the state said it never consented to allow audio or video recordings and Cahill's original order "upsets that careful balance" outlined in state law.

State asks judge to reconsider allowing cameras in courtroom for Floyd trial

The state is also saying it "welcomes a public trial" but wants to protect the privacy and safety of witnesses, arguing that state law bars video and audio recording if any witness objects.

The motion states: "Ordinary citizens have been thrust into these proceedings simply because they witnessed George Floyd's death. They should not be forced to sacrifice their privacy or suffer possible threats of intimidation when they perform their civic duty and testify... Live video and audio coverage may be intimidating to some witnesses and make it less likely that they will testify, potentially interfering with a fair trial."

For first time ever, cameras to be allowed in court for Minnesota trial

According to court documents, Cahill ruled Friday that that prosecutors' arguments were "at best, inadequate, and at worst, mere lip service to the Defendants' and the public's constitutional rights."

The ruling allows for audio and video coverage of the trial to occur when it begins in 2021. It's currently scheduled to begin March 8 but two of the former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd's death have asked for it to be delayed.


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