Politics

Judge in Derek Chauvin trial says Maxine Waters’ comment could lead to case being appealed

The judicial integrity of the George Floyd murder trial is under question after elected officials made comments potentially influencing the jury. Comments were made despite Hennepin County District Judge, Peter Cahill, previously advising against elected officials sharing their opinion about open cases. In regard to the George Floyd case, Cahill stated, “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law, and to the judicial branch and our function.” 

A comment from California Representative Maxine Waters threatened to overturn the case against Derek Chauvin, the officer on trial for the death of George Floyd, according to the judge. Amid jury deliberations, Waters made a call to action, asking protesters to “get confrontational” if the former officer was not charged with murder. Continuing, she said, “I hope we get a verdict that says, guilty, guilty, guilty,” she said of the Chauvin trial. “And if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to stay on the street.”

Defense attorney Eric Nelson had urged Judge Cahill to declare a mistrial, arguing that “an elected official, US congressperson” made statements that “I think are reasonably interpreted to be threats against the sanctity of the jury process” and had the effect of “threatening and intimidating the jury.”

Judge Cahill, stated, “… Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.” Furthermore, President Biden stated, “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which I think is overwhelming in my view.”

While the influence of the comments is arguable, the remarks illustrate the volatile nature of the George Floyd case. Protests and riots are predicted to follow the upcoming verdict, and a violent year of demonstrations sets a daunting standard. With regard to the recent scrutiny concerning the case, conservative political commentator Jordan Rachel Tweeted, “Is it considered a fair trial if the jury is in fear for their lives?” As of Wednesday, April 20th, former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with the murder of George Floyd. Chauvin was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

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ARTICLE: ANTOINTETTE AHO

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: REUTERS

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