Attorneys for three former Minneapolis officers charged in the murder of George Floyd submitted a request Thursday (September 2) to bar the trial from being streamed live.
According to CBS 4 Minnesota, the request from lawyers representing Thomas Lane, J. Keung and Tou Thao is an about-face from their previous request to have the trial broadcasted live. Prosecutors and news outlets, including The Associated Press, oppose barring the trial from being streamed.
In their latest request, the attorneys claim witnesses in the case won’t testify if the hearing is broadcasted live.
Attorneys Earl Gray and Tom Plunkett also said the publicity of Derek Chauvin’s trial brought “worldwide publicity” and would hinder their clients’ rights to a fair trial.
“Cameras in the Chauvin Courtroom brought us to the dangerous pass where people are deterred from testifying for the defense because they fear the wrath of the crowd,” they reportedly wrote.
The former Minneapolis police officers are set to stand trial March 2022 and face multiple charges in Floyd’s May 2020 death including aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
In April, Chauvin, their co-defendant, was convicted of murdering Floyd and was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Chauvin’s trial was streamed live –– the first time in Minnesota’s history that a criminal trial was publicly broadcast in its entirety.
Prosecutors originally tried to block media coverage in Chauvin’s trial but Judge Peter Cahill allowed cameras in the courtroom since the pandemic limited space in the courtroom and global interest in the case.
Prosecutors later applauded the decision, as public access to the case and the inner workings of the criminal justice system was granted.