MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has dismissed the state’s request to delay the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. It means his March 8 trial date will stand.
The state argued to delay the trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic and public safety issues. The appeals court says that, while the concerns are important, “the judicial branch has implemented significant, tested safeguards and conditions on court operations and the conduct of jury trials during the pandemic.”
The appeals court also said that although the state argued delaying Chauvin’s trial would be in the best interest of public health due to COVID-19 concerns, prosecutors did not show that holding Chauvin’s trial in March would have a “critical impact” on their ability to prosecute the case.
The appeal to re-join the trials of Chauvin with the other three former officers charged in Floyd’s death was also denied. Last month, prosecutors appealed Judge Peter Cahill’s ruling that split the former officers’ trials, saying that multiple trials would traumatize witnesses and the community and that the evidence against all four defendants is similar. They also argued that all four officers should face trial in the summer, when the COVID-19 pandemic may be more under control.
Thursday, the judge in the case ruled against the prosecution’s attempts to reinstate third-degree murder charges against Chauvin and aiding and abetting third-degree murder for the other three former officers involved.
In another major development, it was reported that Chauvin was ready to plead guilty to third-degree murder just days after the death of Floyd, but U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr nixed the deal because he thought it was too lenient.
Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and laying chest-down on the street.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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