Three former Minneapolis officers who participated in the 2020 murder of George Floyd rejected a plea deal, prosecutors revealed in court on Monday (April 11).
According to reports, the lead prosecutor in the trial, Matthew Frank, told the court he offered Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Keung an unspecified deal for the aiding and abetting charges they face for their roles in the deadly arrest nearly two years ago, but they refused to take it.
The prosecutor said the deals were identical for all three former officers and were made on March 22 after the three were convicted of federal civil rights violation charges back in February.
All men remain free on bail, Lane's attorney Earl Gray confirmed, adding that negotiating with prosecutors was difficult since the former cops' sentence in the federal case still isn't known. A sentencing hearing for the federal charges has not been set by the judge in that case.
News of the deals' rejection came during hearing Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill held this week, with the main purpose of considering his authority to allow live video coverage of the upcoming trial. Lane, Thao, and Keung are scheduled to begin their trial in June on state charges and estimated to last eight weeks, including three weeks used for jury selection.
Cahill allowed news coverage of former officer Derek Chauvin's state murder trial in 2021, breaking from previous precedent to balance Covid-19-related health measures and participants' Constitutional rights to a public trial. Cahill is now deciding whether to allow cameras inside the courtroom this year as pandemic-related mandates have shifted or been taken away completely.
Chauvin was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 22 and half years in prison for kneeling on Floyd's neck for nine and half minutes. Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges earlier this year.
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