WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- District Judge Peter Cahill warned on Monday that if Minneapolis public officials won’t stop making comments about George Floyd’s case, he would grant a change-of-venue motion to relocate the case.
- Cahill said that “the court is not going to be happy about hearing about the case in three areas: media, evidence, and guilt or innocence.”
- Prosecutor Matthew Frank said they already asked people not to talk about the case and have done their best “to make the court’s concerns known to them and will continue to do so.”
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill warned on Monday that George Floyd’s murder case could be taken out of Minneapolis jurisdiction if local officials would not refrain from discussing it publicly.
According to the Associated Press report, Cahill called for a state assistant attorney general to warn officials that their spontaneous comments in public could force him to allow a change-of-venue motion.
Cahill immediately dismissed the idea but cautioned that he would do it if they would not listen to his advice.
“The court is not going to be happy about hearing about the case in three areas: media, evidence and guilt or innocence,” he said.
Based on the Star Tribune report, the judge’s comments came during a hearing wherein one defense lawyer of the four ex-cops charged in Floyd’s killing said he planned to file a motion to relocate the case.
Claiming that he fights the battle with one hand, Defense Lawyer Robert Paule quoted the remarks by Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, who both described Floyd’s death as “murder.”
State Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, the prosecutor of Floyd’s case, told Cahill he seriously recognized the issues he was concern about.
“We have asked people not to talk about this case … we’ve done our best to make the court’s concerns known to them and will continue to do so,” Frank said.
Paule told the media outside the court that Cahill issued an order to prohibit all the “litigants” in the case from commenting on “the evidence, what we see as the merits of the case or what we see as a person’s guilt or innocence.”
Paule is the defense attorney of ex-cop Tou Thao, who’s jailed on at least $750,000 bail.
Last week, Attorney Thomas Plunkett, who represents another defendant, ex-cop J. Alexander Kueng, requested to have cameras in the courtroom for Monday’s hearing. The request was made due to “multiple and inappropriate public comments” by officials.
“The State’s conduct has made a fair and unbiased trial extremely unlikely and the Defendants seek video and audio coverage to let a cleansing light shine on these proceedings,” Plunkett wrote in a legal statement. But Cahill barred the idea, arguing that doing it in contrast would “risk tainting a potential Hennepin County jury pool.”
Source: New York Post