Judge tosses out gag order in George Floyd murder case

A Hennepin County judge dismissed a gag order in the George Floyd murder case after the defense argued it was not fair to the four former Minneapolis Police officers involved after so much had already been said about their actions. 

During the Tuesday afternoon hearing at Hennepin County District Court, the judge also expressed openness to releasing the full body camera footage from George Floyd's death to the public, but did not make a final ruling.

During the hearing, Judge Peter Cahill also expressed interest in allowing the trial to be broadcast live. The defense and a coalition of media members, including FOX 9, are in favor of live broadcasting. The judge gave the state a week to declare its position on the matter. 

During arguments about the release of the body camera footage, Defense attorney Earl Gray said the video showed George Floyd turning away and swallowing drugs on camera at the start. Gray argued what killed Floyd, more likely, was the fentanyl in his system. 

The judge made the decision to not sanction Attorney General Keith Ellison, who the defense said violated the now-dismissed gag order about the case when he sent out a news release to the public introducting his full prosecutorial team. 

Last week, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill allowed appointment-only viewing of the footage from the body cameras of former officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. It required interested parties, including news reporters, to come to the courthouse and watch it in person. 

The evidence was submitted publicly in a defense motion to have aiding and abetting murder charges against Lane tossed out. His attorney has said Lane was not to blame for what happened to George Floyd, pinning the actions on senior officer Derek Chauvin at the scene.

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The three younger officers, Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao, who are all charged with aiding and abetting, appeared in person. Chauvin appeared via video from the state prison in Oak Park Heights, where he is being held.