Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill promised to call back the seven jurors already chosen in Derek Chauvin’s trial for further questioning after the Minneapolis City Council settled with George Floyd’s family for $27 million.
Jury selection in the case of the former Minneapolis police officer began March 8 and was almost immediately delayed as Cahill weighed whether to reinstate a third-degree murder charge. The charge was ultimately reinstated and jury selection is ongoing.
Amid the jury selection, which has seen seven jurors seated so far, the city’s $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family was announced. This is the largest in the history of the city and one of the biggest in the U.S., according to Fox 61.
Breaking: judge in George Floyd death trial will call back 7 jurors already sat to question them about Friday’s $27m settlement
— Matt Finn (@MattFinnFNC) March 15, 2021
The announcement, which came Friday, sparked concerns from Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, who said he’s worried that the news would prejudice both current and prospective jurors, Fox 61 reported. (RELATED: Here’s How Derek Chauvin Plans To Defend Himself)
Nelson asked for a delay because of the concerns, and Cahill said he would consider the option. Cahill denied another request from the defense for more peremptory strikes, but said he’d be calling back the seated jurors to inquire about their thoughts and knowledge on the settlement.
“I think there are things that the court must do which includes calling back the seven jurors that are already seated, asking them about the settlement,” Nelson said, adding that the timing of the announcement is “very suspicious,” according to Fox 61.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher pushed back on some of Nelson’s remarks and noted that their team doesn’t “control the Minneapolis city council” nor “the news cycle.”
“While potential jurors have been exposed to media in the case, the jurors that we’ve seated have expressed that they can set anything they’ve heard outside the courtroom aside, and judge the case based on the evidence,” Schleicher said according to Fox 61.
While Cahill takes the request for a delay under advisement, he said both sides’ concerns are legitimate. In the meantime, jury selection continued Monday.
“I’m gonna grant the motion that at some point, probably after we are finished selecting, that we call back the seven to see if they’ve read anything and if it changes their mind about being fair and impartial,” Cahill declared.