MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two major developments in the last two days in the George Floyd case.

New reporting in The New York Times Wednesday said Derek Chauvin was ready to plead guilty in the case, but U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr nixed the deal because he thought it was too lenient.

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Thursday, the judge in the case ruled against the prosecution’s attempts to reinstate third-degree murder charges against all Chauvin and aiding and abetting third-degree murder for the other three former officers involved.

Three days after Floyd’s death, local and federal prosecutors summoned reporters to FBI headquarters for a major announcement. After a delay of several hours, the U.S. attorney admitted she was unable to say anything.

“I can only ask you to trust me that it mattered,” Erica MacDonald said.

The New York Times reported that a plea deal fell through.

Chauvin had agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder and get 10 years in prison. In return, the federal civil rights case that could have brought up to a life sentence would be dropped. Chauvin’s attorney is not commenting. Joe Tamburino, a criminal defense attorney not affiliated with the case, says the widely read story can only hurt Chauvin with potential jurors.

“We don’t know how many people this article polluted,” Tamburino said.

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Judge Peter Cahill has ruled against reinstating a third-degree murder charge for all four defendants. They will still face second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Tamburino said this ruling will hurt the prosecution.

“Quite a bit, because third-degree murder is a charge that does fit the case. Factually, a jury could find guilt on that and it has less to prove,” he said.

One of the defense attorneys agrees.

Earl Gray, the defense attorney for Thomas Lane, said, “I am happy the Judge ruled that way. He made the right decision. It’s not the law.”

The possibility remains of the four officers still being charged with federal civil rights violations. Federal officials have declined to comment.

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The trial for Chauvin is still scheduled to start March 8.

Esme Murphy