Democrats repeatedly threatened to derail
Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Judge Cahill multiple times to delay the case and declare a mistrial due to remarks from liberal politicians who presumed the defendant’s guilt and stoked fears of violence after the verdict.
Just hours before the verdict was announced, President
Officials in Minneapolis drew the ire of the judge before the trial even began when they announced the city’s $27million settlement with
Cahill was considering a defense bid to delay the trial over concerns that the ‘unfortunate’ timing of the settlement announcement could taint the jurors’ perception of the case when officials went against the judge’s wishes and held a second press conference on the issue.
In a biting rebuke, Cahill demanded that the city, the prosecution and the defense ‘stop talking about it’ before ruling that the trial would proceed as schedule.
However he was forced to dismiss two already-seated jurors and several prospective jurors who admitted that their knowledge of the settlement could prevent them from being impartial.
As the trial neared its conclusion Congresswoman Maxine Waters enraged Cahill when she urged Black Lives Matter protesters to ‘get more confrontational’ if Chauvin is found not guilty.
Chauvin’s attorney cited Waters’ comments when he called for a mistrial after the jury was sent out for deliberation on April 19.
Nelson said he believed the media frenzy around the case would undoubtedly bias the jury, adding: ‘Now that we have US representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this trial it’s frankly mind-blowing.’
Judge Cahill called it ‘abhorrent’ that politicians ignored his warnings against speaking out the case and said Waters ‘may have given [the defense] something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned’.
The judge ultimately denied Nelson’s bid for a mistrial and the jury proceeded with deliberation.
Rep Ilhan Omar followed President Biden’s lead in speaking out hours before jurors delivered their verdict and called it a ‘closed case’ on Tuesday while they were still deliberating.
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Democrats threatened to derail Derek Chauvin’s murder trial multiple times by ignoring Judge Peter Cahill’s orders to stop talking about it because their comments could influence the jury
President Joe Biden calls evidence against Chauvin ‘overwhelming’ and tells Floyd’s brother Philonise he’s ‘praying everything comes out okay’ after jury is sent out
President Joe Biden joined fellow Democrats in calling for Chauvin to be convicted on April 20 when he said the evidence against the former cop was ‘overwhelming’ and that he hopes the jury reaches the ‘right verdict’.
‘I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view,’ Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.
The president also confirmed that he’d called Floyd’s brother Philonise after the jury went behind closed doors for their deliberations.
‘I waited until the jury was sequestered and I called. I’ve come to know George’s family,’ he noted as he spoke of the ‘pressure and anxiety’ they are going through.
Philonise said Biden, who has buried a wife and two children, spoke to him about what it’s like to lose a family member.
Floyd’s brother Philonise (left) revealed President Biden called him on April 19 when the jury was sent out to deliberate in Chauvin’s trial
Biden was said to be monitoring the trial and concerned that a verdict may inflame racial tensions at a time when multiple US cities are on edge following police killings
‘He was just calling. He knows how it is to lose a family member. And he knows that the process of what we’re going through so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, and hoping that everything would come out to be okay,’ Philonise told NBC’s Today.
Philonise said he is ‘optimistic’ about the coming verdict in his brother’s murder trial. ‘Hopefully it will be the way the world wants to see it,’ he noted. He also expressed his hope for peace after the verdict is revealed.
‘We just want everyone to be peaceful’, he added, as Minneapolis braces for the verdict and the White House figures out how to deal with any potential fallout.
Biden was said to be monitoring the trial and concerned that a verdict may inflame racial tensions at a time when multiple US cities are on edge following police killings.
‘This feels like a closed case’: Ilhan Omar said Derek Chauvin is guilty before the verdict was handed down and demands ‘transformational change’ to fix ‘repeated assaults’ by cops
Ilhan Omar called the murder trial against Derek Chauvin a ‘closed case’ on Tuesday as the jury was sequestered for deliberation.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said Tuesday that the trial against Derek Chauvin is a ‘closed case’
‘The case to me feels like a closed case where it shouldn’t be really even questioned whether there will be an acquittal or a verdict that doesn’t meet the scale of the crime that was committed,’ the Minnesota representative told press in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon.
Omar’s comments came before the jury has reached a verdict, and after the judge in Chauvin’s case said politicians commenting on the trial could be grounds for the defense to appeal a potential guilty verdict.
The progressive representative said that she trusts the trial to be ‘dignified and just’.
‘As the community is still on edge and feels that we are a community that has experienced injustice over and over again, [they trust] that this might actually be the turning point,’ Omar continued.
‘And so we are prayed up, we are holding onto one another for support, we are checking in on one another.
‘And hopefully this verdict will come soon and the community can start the process of healing.’
Maxine Waters enrages Judge Cahill by saying BLM protesters should get ‘more confrontational’ if Chauvin is found not guilty
Just two days before the jury was sent out to deliberate Rep Waters made remarks that Judge Cahill said may have handed Chauvin’s defense grounds for appeal and the turning over of any guilty verdict.
The California Democrat flew to Minnesota on April 17 to join a protest over the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man who was shot dead during a traffic stop six days earlier in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center – ten miles from where Floyd was killed.
‘I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty,’ Waters said of the Chauvin trial. ‘And if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to stay on the street. We get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.’
Speaking after the jury retired on April 19, Chauvin’s attorney Nelson referenced Waters’ comments when asking for a mistrial on grounds that there was no way the jury could be untainted by the excessive publicity surrounding the case.
Chauvin’s defense called for a mistrial after the jury retired on April 19, citing comments California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (left) made about the case during a protest on Saturday. Judge Cahill (right) condemned Waters’ remarks as ‘abhorrent’ before stating that he would not declare a mistrial
‘Now that we have US representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this trial it’s frankly mind-blowing,’ Nelson said.
Taking it into consideration Judge Cahill said: ‘I grant that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned’.
Cahill denied Nelson’s move for a mistrial but he said: ‘I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case. They should respect a co-equal branch of government.’
He said that failure to do so was ‘abhorrent’, but added: ‘I don’t think it’s given additional material with which to prejudice the jury. A congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot.’
WATERS V. CAHILL
What Waters said on April 17:
‘I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to stay on the street. We get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.’
What Cahill said on April 19:
‘I’m aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial, and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction, and talk about being “confrontational.”
‘I grant that Congresswoman Waters may have given [the defense] something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned’.
‘I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case. They should respect a co-equal branch of government. Their failure to do so is abhorrent.
‘[But] I don’t think it’s given additional material with which to prejudice the jury. A congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot.’
Republicans likewise expressed outrage with Waters, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell telling colleagues on the Senate floor: ‘It’s harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders – not so subtly – that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in the streets.’
‘It is beyond the pale for a sitting member of the United States Congress to look at what happened last summer and imply there should be some kind of a sequel if a legal case does not unfold as she thinks it should,’ McConnell added.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took his criticism even further – saying that he is introducing a motion to formally censure Waters.
McCarthy also attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she said Waters didn’t need to apologize because her comments didn’t incite violence.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to condemn Waters’ comments, telling reporters: ‘Well, I can speak to the president’s view. He has been very clear that he recognizes the issue of police violence against people of color, communities of color is one of great anguish and it’s exhausting and quite emotional at times.’
Waters defended herself by saying that Republicans were trying to ‘send a message to all of the white supremacists’ by criticizing her.
‘Any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that.’
She also accused Republicans of using the tactic to raise money off the Democrats’ backs.
Judge Cahill demands city officials stop talking about $27million settlement with Floyd family in the middle of jury selection
Before the trial even kicked off, Democratic officials in Minneapolis drew the ire of Judge Cahill by discussing details of the city’s $27million settlement to Floyd’s family.
The City Counsel approved and announced the settlement on March 13, in the middle of jury selection.
MINNEAPOLIS OFFICIALS V. CAHILL
What Minneapolis officials said:
The City Council announced the $27million settlement with Floyd’s family on March 13, saying: ‘No amount of money can ever address the intense pain or trauma caused by this death to George Floyd’s family or the people of our city.’
Mayor Jacob Frey and City Attorney Jim Rowader then held a second press conference about the settlement on March 18 where Frey said he ‘disagreed with the underlying premise’ that the news of the settlement has had a negative impact on the murder trial.
What Judge Peter Cahill said:
At a hearing on March 15 Cahill called the timing of the settlement announcement ‘unfortunate’ and said: ‘The problem is, it cuts.’
He hit out again after the second press conference on March 18, saying: ‘I’ve asked Minneapolis to stop talking about it – they keep talking about it, we keep talking about it. Everyone just needs to stop talking about it. Let me decide what the ramifications are.’
Chauvin’s attorney Nelson swiftly asked for the trial to be delayed in light of the announcement, which he said was ‘very suspicious timing to say the least, and has an incredible propensity to taint a jury pool’.
Nelson said he was concerned that his client would not be able to get a fair trial due to ‘all the high-ranking state officials that made comments at the onset of this entire situation’.
Judge Cahill agreed with Nelson that the timing of the payout was a complicating factor. ‘You would agree it’s unfortunate, right?’ Cahill asked the prosecution, led by Steve Schleicher, in court on March 15.
‘It’s certainly not my preference, your honor,’ Schleicher replied, adding that it wasn’t clear to him whether news of the settlement ‘cuts’ in favor of the prosecution or the defense.
‘The problem is, it cuts,’ Cahill said.
Four days later city council members enraged Cahill by holding a second press conference about the settlement on March 18, where Mayor Jacob Frey and City Attorney Jim Rowader defended the timing of the announcement and said: ‘There is no good timing to settle any case.’
However, when pressed about the move, Rowader admitted the settlement has not even been ‘finalized’ and must still go through federal court approval.
Rowader refused to answer why the settlement was announced early because Cahill ‘does not want us to talk about the settlement’.
Frey said he ‘disagreed with the underlying premise’ that the news of the settlement has had a negative impact on the murder trial – the same day more prospective jurors were dismissed after saying their opinions had been impacted by learning about it.
Nelson brought the press conference to the attention of Cahill, who demanded that the city, the prosecution and the defense ‘stop talking about it’.
‘I’ve asked Minneapolis to stop talking about it – they keep talking about it, we keep talking about it,’ he said. ‘Everyone just needs to stop talking about it. Let me decide what the ramifications are.’
Cahill ultimately denied the defense bid to delay the trial but excused two already-seated jurors who heard about the settlement and admitted they could no longer be impartial.
City Attorney Jim Rowader held a second press briefing about the settlement on March 18 after Judge Cahill told city officials to stop discussing it publicly (left). Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (right) said he ‘disagreed with the underlying premise’ that the news of the settlement has had a negative impact on the murder trial
Who is Peter Cahill? Hennepin County judge worked as a public defender, a prosecutor and a top adviser to Sen Amy Klobuchar before taking the bench 14 years ago
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill was appointed to the bench in 2007 after serving as a public defender and a prosecutor
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, 64, is known for his decisive and direct style of overseeing cases, which he built through years of service as both a public defender and a prosecutor.
Cahill graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1984 before starting his career in the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. He served there for three years before joining the private firm of renowned defense attorney Michael Colich, where he worked from 1987 to 1993.
In 1997 Cahill moved to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, where he served as top adviser to US Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, when she was the county’s head prosecutor.
During his 10-year stint as a prosecutor, Cahill went to the State Supreme Court to argue against a ruling that limited police officers’ ability to question and search motorists without a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Cahill was appointed to the bench by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007 and quickly built a reputation as a no-nonsense, fair justice. He was elected by the public in 2014 and 2020, and his current term expires in January 2027.
One of his biggest rulings came in 2015 when he dismissed charges against the organizers of a large Black Lives Matter rally at the Mall of America, saying the demonstration had been peaceful.
Cahill was thrust into the spotlight when Chief Hennepin District Judge Toddrick Barnette tapped him to oversee Derek Chauvin’s trial, one of the most highly-anticipated and influential in the history of Minnesota and the US.
‘This moment is not too big for him,’ Barnette said of Cahill. ‘He will make thoughtful legal decisions based upon the law, even if the decisions are unpopular.’
Early on Cahill made the unprecedented decision to allow cameras in his court for the first time in Minnesota’s history. Announcing the decision, Cahill said he decided the ‘only way to vindicate the defendants’ constitutional right to a public trial and the media’s and public’s constitutional rights of access to criminal trials is to allow audio and video coverage of the trial’.
Lawyers who know him described the move as ‘classic Cahill’.
‘He is very decisive. He applies the law fairly,’ Colich, Cahill’s friend and former boss, told
Before the trial Cahill won praise for standing firm on his decisions not to delay or move proceedings despite media attention. Over three weeks of testimony he was quick to interject when either side appeared to veer into a line of questioned that violated the clear rules he had set.