MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The historic $27 million settlement between the family of George Floyd and the city of Minneapolis has legal experts concerned about how it will affect the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin.
City leaders announced the record settlement on Friday, with all City Council members voting to approve the money to settle the civil suit brought by the family.
"This is awful," said former Chief Public Defender for Hennepin County Mary Moriarty. "This is awful for the state, and awful for the defense."
Moriarty says while jurors have promised to not consume any news reports on the case, it's hard to believe they didn’t hear about the settlement.
"We want everyone to get a fair trial, and this just is not good timing at all, and it’s very damaging," she said.
When asked about the timing of the settlement, the city of Minneapolis pointed to City Attorney Jim Rowander’s statement at a news conference Friday. When pressed by the media, Rowander said, "You know, we are trying to be very respectful of the criminal proceedings that are now underway and we’re now in jury selection and I think it wouldn’t be wise for all of us to comment on something that is ongoing."
When court resumes Monday, it's possible the defense makes a motion for a mistrial, or asks that all the jurors who were already chosen be brought back for additional questioning.
"There’s no way of undoing it," said Moriarty. "Unless you start all over—and even then--if the judge were to declare a mistrial, you’d have another group of jurors who knew about the settlement."