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Chauvin trial: Judge reinstates third-degree murder charge

After several appeals and hearings, Judge Cahill reinstated the charge against Chauvin.
Attorney Eric Nelson and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Attorney Eric Nelson and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

A third-degree murder charge has been added to the list of charges Derek Chauvin faces in the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. 

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill on Thursday morning before jury selection continued reinstated the third-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer. 

Chauvin is also charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. 

Cahill's decision comes after several hearings and appeals on the issue.

Here's a rundown:

Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder in addition to the other charges but Cahill nixed the charge in October, saying it didn't apply. But then a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling in a different case changed everything — the appeals court ruled to uphold former MPD officer Mohammad Noor's third-degree murder conviction in the killing of Justine Damond. 

Prosecutors then asked Cahill to reinstate the third-degree murder charge, saying the Noor case set precedent but Cahill denied it. Prosecutors then appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which ruled on Friday that the Hennepin County District Court had to reconsider reinstating a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin.

But there was more. On Monday, Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson said he was petitioning the Minnesota Supreme Court, prompting a delay in the first day of jury selection while those involved figured out how to proceed. Jury selection did continue this week as scheduled while waiting to hear from the state Supreme Court. 

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court said it wouldn't hear Chauvin's appeal.

"The Supreme Court was right to decline Mr. Chauvin’s petition for review. The Court of Appeals ruled correctly; therefore, there was no need for the Supreme Court to intervene. We believe the charge of third-degree murder is fair and appropriate. We look forward to putting it before the jury, along with charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting Chauvin, said in a statement on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, Judge Cahill granted the prosecution's motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin.

The court has seated five of the 12 jurors (plus two alternates) prior to the start of jury selection on Thursday. Opening statements are scheduled for March 29.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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