The trial of the three former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd will be postponed until March 2022, a judge ruled Thursday (May 13).
The trial for the ex-officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Kueng was scheduled for August 23 of this year, but Judge Peter Cahill pushed back the date to allow for a federal civil rights case to proceed first, ABC News reported.
Derek Chauvin, the former officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, was convicted on April 20, 2021 on all charges against him. Sentencing for Chauvin is scheduled for June 2021. Cahill considered aggravating factors in determining Chauvin’s sentence earlier this week.
The three officers face aiding and abetting charges in connection with their role in Floyd’s murder. They, along with Chauvin, are also facing federal civil rights violation charges.
The announcement of the trial delay came during pre-trial hearings in which attorneys for the ex-officers also allege witness intimidation and accuse the prosecution of leaking information related to the trial.
On Wednesday (May 12), Bob Paule, Thao’s attorney, said in a court filing that Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker was coerced into putting neck compressions into his autopsy report by former Washington, D.C. medical examiner Dr. Roger Mitchell. Paule alleges that Mitchell called Baker and said a critique of Baker’s findings would be published in The Washington Post if neck compressions weren’t included in the final report. Baker, Paule claims, hadn’t intended to include neck compressions but spoke to Mitchell twice. The neck compression findings were in Baker’s June 1 report and the critique article was never submitted.
Paule also said that leaks about Chauvin’s alleged willingness to plead guilty last year came from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office. Chauvin, according to reports, was prepared to take a guilty plea to a third-degree murder charge, but then-Attorney General William Barr rejected it. Ellison denied the claims and called them “an outlandish attempt to disparage the prosecution.”
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