MINNEAPOLIS (WLAX/WEUX) — So far, nine jurors have been seated in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged with the death in George Floyd.
As the second week of jury selection gets underway, questions are being raised regarding whether or not a $27 million settlement between Floyd’s family and the city could hinder the trial.
The attorney defending Chauvin, said he’s “gravely concerned” last week’s announcement of a $27 million settlement between the city of Minneapolis and Floyd’s family makes it impossible for his client to get a fair trial because it may have tainted the jury pool.
“The fact that this came in the exact middle of jury selection, it’s perplexing to me, your honor,” attorney Eric Nelson told the judge.
Nelson also asked the judge to delay the trial and raised the possibility of a change of venue.
“And, I wish people would, city officials, would stop talking about this case so much, but at the same time, I don’t find any evil intent that they are trying to tamper with this criminal case,” Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill said.
The judge says he will recall the seven selected jurors last week and question them about their knowledge of the settlement, even though he ordered them not to follow or do any research on the case.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher says those previously picked jurors already agreed to make their decisions in the case based solely on what they’re hearing during the trial.
Meanwhile, week two of jury selection got underway. The first potential juror questioned said she heard about that $27 million settlement.
She said, “When I heard that, I almost gasped at the amount.”
That potential juror told the court she did not know if she could ignore what she heard and was immediately excused.
There’s been a series of unusual developments and twists and turns, so far, in this case, but, the judge is insisting opening arguments will begin on March 29.