MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state trial for three former officers charged in George Floyd’s death won’t happen until March 2022, because the judge wants to wait for the conclusion of the federal case against all four former officers.

A jury convicted Derek Chauvin of murder last month.

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The state trial for Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng was supposed to follow in August. All three are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

The penalties in the federal case would be much harsher than those in the state case — up to life in prison.

Judge Peter Cahill said because of that the federal trial should go first. He also said “we need distance” from all the publicity in the Chauvin case.

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Legal analyst Joe Tamburino says the defense may have agreed to the postponement because the federal charges could be easier to defend against.

In motions, Lane’s attorney asked the court for 30 years of police records. Earl Gray is convinced those records will show zero cases where officers intervened to stop colleagues from using excessive force.

Thao’s attorney Bob Paule asked the court for a hearing to determine who leaked a story in February to the New York Times that Chauvin wanted to to plead guilty right after Floyd’s death, but that the Attorney General at the time Bill Barr rejected the plea deal. Paule called the leak “the most outrageous misconduct I have seen in the course of my career.”

The back and forth over the leak ended with representatives of the Attorney General’s office and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office agreeing staffers would submit affidavits to the judge saying they were not the source of the leak.

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No hearings have been scheduled in the federal case.

Esme Murphy