Derek Chauvin trial: 9 jurors seated, defense seeks trial delay
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - UPDATE: Two jurors were dismissed Wednesday.
The second week of jury selection begins Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the death in George Floyd. Nine jurors have been seated so far. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will continue to question and challenge potential jurors until they can seat a 12-person jury, with two alternates.
Court began at 8 a.m. with a hearing on preliminary motions, before moving on to jury selection at 9 a.m. The trial is being streamed live, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live.
Eight jurors were questioned on Monday. Two of whom were seated on the jury while the others were dismissed, either for cause or by peremptory strikes.
Judge calling back 7 already seated jurors
Defense attorney Eric Nelson told the court he is "gravely concerned" about the news that broke on Friday that the City of Minneapolis had reached a $27 million settlement in the civil lawsuit brought by the Floyd family. Nelson is concerned about the information tainting the jury pool.
"We have a mayor who is a lawyer by trade. He should know better." Nelson said of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Judge Cahill said he wishes city officials "would stop talking about this case so much," but does not think there was any ill intent with the timing of the announcement of the civil settlement.
Judge Cahill granted the defense’s motion to call back the seven jurors who have already been seated at some point to question them on if they have heard or read anything about the settlement and whether they still believe they can be impartial in this case.
Judge Cahill denied the defense’s motion for additional peremptory strikes, saying it was unnecessary at this time because neither side has used all of their strikes yet.
Nelson also asked Judge Cahill for continuance and change of venue in the case. The judge took that motion under advisement.
Judge Peter Cahill told the selected jurors to go home and not to do any reading or research about the case in the coming weeks. He told them to report back to the courthouse on March 29 at 9 a.m., saying he is confident the trial will begin at that time.
Each prospective juror was assigned a randomized number when they filled out the 14-page questionnaire, which asked them about their knowledge of the case, police connections and attitudes towards the justice system as well as their media habits. Both sides agreed to dismiss 16 of the first 50 prospective jurors for cause on Monday based on their answers to the questionnaire.
MORE: How the Chauvin trial jury will be selected
READ MORE: Who are the selected jurors?
Derek Chauvin charges
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May.
Judge Cahill reinstated the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin during the first week of the trial.
Chauvin trial streaming and TV information
The Chauvin trial will be live streamed, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live and the FOX 9 News App. You can also find the FOX 9 stream on Tubi through connected TVs. Portions of the trial are likely to be carried live by several broadcast networks as well as Court TV.
The Derek Chauvin trial is being held in Courtroom 1856 of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. During jury selection, until all the preliminary motions are heard by Judge Cahill, court will start at 8 a.m. most days with a hearing on preliminary motions, before moving on to jury selection at 9 a.m.
QUICK READ: Derek Chauvin trial essential info and FAQs
Jury selection process
To decide the jury, prosecutors and Chauvin’s defense attorneys will question each potential juror one at a time, separately from the others.
Each potential juror has already filled out a questionnaire asking about their knowledge of the case, police connections and attitudes towards the justice system as well as their media habits, which will be provided to the attorneys and the judge before jury selection.
Jury to remain anonymous
Potential jurors and jurors will only be referred to by a random, previously assigned number because Judge Cahill has ordered their identities to remain a secret for the duration of the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Cahill will decide when the jurors’ identities can be made public.
The jury will be partially sequestered during the trial and fully sequestered while they are deliberating, which means they cannot go home until they reach a verdict or the judge determines they are hung. However, the judge can order full sequestration of the jury at any time if the partial sequestration proves ineffective in keeping the jurors free from outside influence.
Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin on March 29. A verdict in the Chauvin trial is not expected until mid to late April.
Who is in the courtroom?
- Trial Judge Peter Cahill
- 1 judge's clerk
- 1 court reporter
- Derek Chauvin, the defendant
- The jury. The empaneled jury will consist of 12 jurors and 2 alternates.
- Up to 4 lawyers or staff for the prosecution, led by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank.
- Defense attorney Eric Nelson and up to 2 staff from his law firm
- 1 witness at a time in the courtroom
- 1 George Floyd family member
- 1 Derek Chauvin family member
- 2 members of pooled media - 1 print and 1 broadcast or digital media
- 1 broadcast technician
Courtroom 1856 was renovated specifically for the Derek Chauvin trial to maximize capacity and maintain COVID-19 social distancing standards. The courtroom is located on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center.
Judge Cahill has ordered certain behavior in the courtroom:
Jurors, attorneys, witnesses and support staff must wear masks and keep six feet from other people.
Masks can be removed when giving testimony, examining witnesses, giving opening statements or closing arguments. Attorneys must conduct all witness examinations and arguments from the lectern.
Any sidebar conferences will be conducted over wireless headsets. Chauvin will be outfitted with a headset to listen to these conferences, which will be off-the-record.
Jurors and potential jurors will be escorted to courtroom each day by deputies or security. No one can have contact with jurors except the judge, court personnel and deputies. Any attorney contact is limited to the jury selection process when court is in session.
Potential jurors will only be referred to by a randomized number.
Death of George Floyd
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020 while being detained by Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. The intersection has remained closed to traffic since Floyd's death and has been dubbed George Floyd Square.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 17: People participate in a demonstration on August 17, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Community members came together for a rally to protest the city's potential forceful reopening 38th Street and Chicago Ave, an unofficial
A widely-shared video taken by a bystander showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he repeatedly cried, "I can’t breathe."
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the firing of all four officers the following day. Chauvin was arrested and charged with Floyd’s death on May 29 and the three others were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting on June 3.
TIMELINE: George Floyd's death to Derek Chauvin's trial
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide. The updated report stated that George Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement.