Former Attorney General William Barr reportedly turned down a plea deal for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was allegedly ready to plead guilty to third-degree murder in exchange for a 10-year sentence. However, reports indicate that members of the United States Department of Justice shot down the deal because they felt they were being "rushed."
"His lawyers were trying to rush us, and we didn't want to be rushed," a source close to the matter told NBC News.
Chauvin's lawyer, Eric Nelson, and former Attorney General Barr have not commented on the matter. Hennepin County Attorney's Office Spokeswoman Lacey Severins did offer a brief statement regarding the matter.
"As is typical in many cases, early negotiations can occur between all relevant parties involved. Many times, a defendant will explore their options with a negotiation. It is also common for these types of discussions to happen in the beginning of a case and then have no agreed-upon negotiations develop. This case was no different. Negotiations were discussed, nothing developed," she said.
Chauvin is being charged with second-degree murder after he pressed his knee into George Floyd for more than eight minutes on May 25, 2020. His trial is set for March and it is expected to draw national attention after a summer of unrest. In response, the city of Minneapolis has increased its police presence and requested National Guard troops.
“This is the most famous police brutality prosecution in the history of the United States,” former prosecutor Paul Butler said.
Meanwhile, Chauvin's former colleagues, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao, await trial at a later date. Each officer is facing charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.
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