(RoyalPatriot.com )- On Monday, the judge overseeing the upcoming trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection to the 2020 death of George Floyd said he is unsure whether state law will allow him to permit cameras in the courtroom during the trial.
Minnesota law prohibits both visual and audio broadcasting of trials. However, during the COVID pandemic, judges allowed exceptions in two high-profile cases, the trials of Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin and Kimberly Potter.
But with COVID “more of an endemic issue now,” Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said in a pre-trial hearing on Monday, he doesn’t think the statute still gives him the discretion to allow live streaming of the upcoming trial.
Judge Cahill said he would wait until after the Minnesota Judicial Council meets to discuss the issue before he makes his decision.
The trial of J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao is scheduled to begin on June 13.
The three officers are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in the in-custody death of George Floyd in the spring of 2020. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs as a handcuffed Floyd was lying face-down in the street. Meanwhile, Thao kept the angry crowd back while Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.
Derek Chauvin was convicted last year of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
In February, Kueng, Lane, and Thao were convicted in federal court for violating George Floyd’s civil rights and causing his death. They await sentencing on that conviction.
The lawyers for all three defendants argued against live-streaming of the trial during Monday’s hearing. Thomas Plunkett, Keung’s attorney, said witnesses behave differently when they know they’re testifying for the cameras, arguing “Do we want to be in the show business or the justice business?”
The defense also asked Judge Cahill to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial to protect them from outside influence. Prosecutors requested only partially sequestering the jury as Cahill did during Chauvin’s trial.
Judge Cahill said he would rule on both matters at a later date.