Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney requested a delay in the criminal trial against his client. During a court hearing on Monday (March 15), Eric Nelson asked the judge to postpone Chauvin’s upcoming trial or move the venue outside of Minneapolis, noting his concerns with the timing of the “incredibly prejudicial” settlement reached in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Floyd’s family.
“It’s amazing to me, they had a press conference on Friday, where the mayor of Minneapolis is on stage with city council, and they’re using very, what I would say, very well-designed terminology,” Nelson said in court. ‘The unanimous decision of the city council,’ for example. It just goes straight to the heart of the dangers of pretrial publicity in this case.”
He continued, “The fact that this came in the exact middle of jury selection — it’s perplexing to me, your honor, whose idea it was to release this information when it was released.”
Nelson’s request comes at the heels of the $27 million settlement between the City of Minneapolis and Floyd’s family, which was announced during the jury selection process. Though half of the fourteen required jurors were already chosen, Chauvin’s attorney also asked for the selected individuals to undergo another round of interrogation.
Judge Peter Cahill agreed to question the seven jurors about the settlement but denied the request to move the venue. He said he would take the motion for a delay under advisement and called the publicity of the settlement “unfortunate.”
“I wish city officials would stop talking about this case so much,” Cahill said. “At the same time, I don’t find any evil intent that they’re trying to tamper with this criminal case.”
Chauvin — the officer who was captured kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes — was charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection to Floyd’s death; his charge of third-degree murder was reinstated last week. Trial is set to begin on March 29.