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George Floyd Case: Minnesota Judge Denies Motion To Reconsider Live Streaming For Trial Of 3 Former Officers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minnesota judge denied a motion from the three other former police officers charged in George Floyd's murder to limit live streaming of the trial.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Judge Peter Cahill wrote that the pandemic-related health conditions that led the court in November of 2020 to order audio and video livestreaming of the trial remain the same. The only difference now, he wrote, is that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is even more contagious now than previous versions of the virus.

The attorneys for former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Keung had asked the court last September to reconsider the streaming order. Per court documents, they argued that due to the proceedings being live-streamed, some defense witnesses might not testify. They added that some expert witnesses might also not testify due to the case's notoriety.

The court responded to those complaints, saying that it would subpoena witnesses and even arrest them to ensure their testimony. They also said that restricting live-streaming would do nothing to take away from the case's public profile.

The three former officers are charged with aiding and abetting Derek Chauvin, another former Minneapolis officer, in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd. Last April, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder for fatally kneeling on Floyd's neck outside a south Minneapolis convenience store, even though Floyd repeatedly told the officer he couldn't breathe. That trial was live-streamed.

Chauvin is currently serving a 22-and-a-half year sentence for murdering Floyd. He also pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges in the case.

The three other former officers are also charged with depriving Floyd of his civil rights. They are slated to stand trial for the federal charges later this month. That trial will not be live streamed.

The state trial for the three former officers is scheduled for March.

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