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Criminal Defense Attorney Joe Tamburino On What $27M Settlement Means For Derek Chauvin's Trial

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Jury selection is scheduled to resume in the Derek Chauvin trial Monday morning.

But before jury selection gets underway, it's possible the parties may address the announcement of the city of Minneapolis' $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd in the federal civil case.

Few observers are surprised that the city of Minneapolis settled the federal lawsuit from Floyd's family for $27 million. In 2019, the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond settled their wrongful death case against the city and the Minneapolis police for $20 million.

The big surprise is that the settlement was announced in the middle of jury selection. And while jurors have been told not read or watch anything about the trial, these days it is difficult to avoid a headline on such a major story.

Complicating the matter is a report in The Washington Post quoting an unnamed city of Minneapolis official saying the city was worried about the timing of the announcement and reached out to Hennepin County Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette for advice and that Barnette told the city to proceed. WCCO has not independently verified that and Judge Barnette and Hennepin County have not responded to WCCO's requests for comment.

Legal experts say Barnette's reported involvement could complicate matters. Joe Tamburino is a criminal defense attorney not affiliated with the case.

"But if the chief judge did know we don't know if that is but let's assume that it is for argument's sake that he did there are two other questions, did he do something about it, did he tell other judges did he talk to the court system or if he didn't do that why didn't he do that because those are very important matters," Tamburino said.

Tamburino says that Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson has three options. He could ask for a mistrial, ask again for a change of venue or ask that the seven jurors that have already been chosen for the panel be brought in and questioned as to whether they have heard anything about the settlement. Nelson has also not given WCCO a comment.

You can watch WCCO TV Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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