A judge warned Monday that the trials of four former police officers charged in connection to the death of George Floyd on May 25 may have to be moved out of Hennepin County.
The former Minneapolis police officers – Derek Chauvin, 44, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 – made a court appearance Monday during which Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill warned that if public officials and attorneys don't stop talking about the case the trial may have to be moved to a different city, media reports show.
However, Cahill did not issue a gag order on attorneys, although he said if public statements continue one can be expected the Pioneer Press reported.
Meanwhile, KARE 11 says the former officers' attorneys indicated they'll file motions to move legal proceedings out of Hennepin County due to all the publicity the case has gotten and statements public officials have made.
Many officials who've spoken about Floyd's death have suggested the officers are guilty.
The former officers' next court date is scheduled for Sept. 11. Their trial is tentatively scheduled to begin March 8, 2021.
Chauvin, the officer captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck, is charged with murder. The other three officers are charged with aiding and abetting.
According to MPR News, they have not entered pleas. Kueng and Lane are out of jail on bond, while Chauvin and Thao are still in custody.
Court records filed Monday afternoon indicate Kueng intends to rely upon the following defenses at trial: not guilty, self-defense, reasonable force and authorized use of force.
Last week, the officers requested their trial be broadcast live ensuring they get a fair trial.
On June 26, the court ruled pretrial hearings could not be broadcast because doing so could taint the jury pool. However, the judge said he'll decide later on broadcasting the actual trial.