The state trial may be postponed of the three former Minneapolis police officers charged for standing by while ex-cop Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd in 2020.
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, presiding Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill issued an order Wednesday (Jan. 12) granting a request by the prosecutor and defense attorneys to reschedule the original March 7 trial date.
The joint motion for postponement was prompted by a potential timing conflict with the federal trial of the former officers that’s scheduled to start on Jan. 20. They are accused of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Cahill gave the lawyers a Jan. 15 deadline to select a new trial date between March 14 and Jan. 9, 2023. He directed them to set aside three weeks for jury selection and five weeks for testimony.
If they fail to meet the deadline, the judge said the state trial would start on the original March 7 date. The judge will postpone the trial on a daily basis If the federal trial doesn’t end by March 7.
Meanwhile, the judge presiding over the federal trial of the three former officers on Tuesday (Jan. 11) urged the attorneys in the federal trial to “move the case along” to avoid a delay from the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.
At the pretrial hearing U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said, “What I’m really encouraging is good hard work by good lawyers to see if you can’t bring it into a more definitive perspective. Move the case along and get it tried in a much shorter time. The longer we are in this courtroom, the more potentiality we have with exposure to COVID.”
A jury convicted Chauvin in state court last year for murdering Floyd. He later pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Floyd’s civil rights. Chauvin is serving 22 1⁄2 years in prison in the state case, but he has not been sentenced yet in the federal case.