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Judge Removes County Prosecutors From George Floyd Case Over ‘Sloppy’ Work

(Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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Four attorneys from the Hennepin County prosecutor’s office were removed from the George Floyd case due in part to “sloppy” work, a county judge ruled Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill’s ruling took four of the county prosecutors off of the case against the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of Floyd after a defense attorney said they didn’t have an independent attorney present when they interviewed a medical examiner, the WSJ reported.

“I think it was sloppy not to have someone present,” Cahill said, the WSJ reported. “Those four attorneys are off the case. They are not to participate. They are now witnesses.”

Cahill’s ruling followed a motion from the defense attorneys, who also said county attorneys appeared in a Minneapolis Police Department Training video that the defense plans to use in the case, according to the WSJ.

“Any suggestion by Judge Cahill that the work of [Amy] Sweasy and [Patrick] Lofton was sloppy is incorrect,” the Hennepin County Attorney’s office said in a press release, referring to two of the prosecutors. “The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office fully stands by the work, dedication and commitment of two of the state’s best prosecutors.”

The County Attorney’s Office said in the press release that the ruling will likely be modified or withdrawn. (RELATED: Former MPD Officer’s Lawyer Says He’ll Argue That George Floyd ‘Killed Himself’)

“This ruling is meaningless. Sweasy and Lofton asked to leave the case on June 3, and [Assistant Attorney General Matthew] Frank is the attorney of record, making Sweasy and Lofton valid third-parties and eligible to be called as witnesses by the defense,” the office said in the release.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s office will have the opportunity to argue for the prosecutors’ reinstatement, the WSJ reported. Until then, the case will be tried only by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office.

Cahill was overseeing a pretrial hearing regarding whether the defendants should be tried together or separately, according to the WSJ. The defendants motioned for a change of venue and discussed juror anonymity.

Nationwide protests followed Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, video of the incident shows. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and the other three officers were charged with second-degree murder, the WSJ reported.

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