Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Minnesota Judge Issues Gag Order in George Floyd Case

Voice of America
10 Jul 2020, 09:05 GMT+10

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill issued a gag order Thursday to all attorneys participating in the trial of four Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd.

The order comes a day after two or more attorneys granted interviews or talked to the news media about the case, the judge said.

Minneapolis-based newspaper The Star Tribune confirmed Thursday that at least two of the attorneys, Earl Gray and Thomas Plunket, spoke to the publication on Wednesday about Gray's motion to dismiss charges against his client, Thomas Lane.

In his statement, Cahill explained that continued public pretrial discussion by the individuals involved in the case "will impair all parties' right to a fair trial" and potentially contaminate the jury pool.

Cahill had previously spoken out against extensive public discussion of the trial by attorneys, public officials and others at a court hearing in June, warning that the trial could be moved out of Hennepin County if individuals did not cease talking about the case.

The death of Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis sparked an international outcry and calls for national police reform. Floyd died after then-Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against the handcuffed man's neck.

Chauvin, 44, was fired and has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

Three additional officers who were present at the scene were also fired and face criminal charges. Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death.

The judge's order applies to all four defendants, their attorneys and prosecuting attorneys. Access to public records and documents related to the case will continue to be available on the county's website.

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