MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Monday morning, opening statements begin in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer is charged in the death of George Floyd.
The 15 jurors picked to be on this trial over the last two weeks will put aside their normal lives for about a month and commit nearly eight hours a day to the courtroom. The jurors have very strict instructions from Trial Judge Peter Cahill to avoid any media coverage of the trial.
There are 15 jurors, but as long as the first 14 show up on Monday with no issue, the 15th juror will be excused. Those 14 jurors will hear the whole case with only 12 deliberating the verdict and two acting as alternates ready to step in – just in case one of those 12 has to excuse themselves from the case.
Due to COVID-19, there are a limited number of people allowed in the courtroom on Monday, just like during jury selection. COVID-19 protocols in the courtroom will be strict, including masks and Plexiglas.
Opening statements are some of the most pivotal moments in the trial besides the reading of the verdict. This is a chance for the lawyers to lay out their case and build a relationship with the jury.
"Opening statement is a chance to present to the jury the theory of what the jury is going to see and hear during the coming weeks of the trial. Lawyers will preview who the witnesses are, what the evidence is, what the evidence is going to show and what conclusions in some ways the jury should draw from that," said Rachel Paulose, a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
Opening statements will begin at 9 a.m. Monday morning. Besides closing arguments, it’s the only time lawyers will directly address the jurors.