Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the high-profile trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, had strong words for the members of the media inside his courtroom Wednesday.
“It’s been brought to the court’s attention that the media has been reporting specific details trying to look at counsels’ – the documents, computers, post-it notes – on counsel tables,” Cahill said. “That’s absolutely inappropriate. Any media who are in this room will refrain from even attempting to look at what is on counsel tables, either for the state or for the defense.”
Cahill ripped into the media over security concerns, too.
“Secondly, it has come to our attention that the media is reporting in detail the security arrangements on the 18th floor and other places,” he said. “I find that completely irresponsible – that that would be reported in the media. If that continues, the media is going to be excluded, and we’re gonna shut down the media center. So I hope everyone takes this to heart that I take the security issue very serious, and to report out to the general public what our arrangements are is extremely irresponsible, and it will be met with sanctions if it continues.”
“And I would hope that any media that posted such things online will immediately take them down,” Cahill finished. “Failure to do so will result in you possibly being kicked out of the media center as well.”
Cahill rebuked the media before jury selection selection continued Wednesday. The judge, who has been calm and level-headed throughout this first phase of Chauvin’s trial, was visibly angry at the reporters in the room.
Chauvin allegedly killed Floyd last year during an arrest.
Jury selection has already faced a major speed bump due to excessive media coverage of the trial.
Friday, the family of George Floyd received a $27 million settlement from the city of Minneapolis in civil court. News of that settlement quickly went viral, sparking calls from Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson to pause the jury selection and move the trial, for fear of a biased jury.
Seven jurors had already been sat before the news, and Cahill agreed to re-interview them to ensure that news of the civil settlement has not prejudiced them.
Jury selection is tentatively scheduled to end this week, and opening statements in the trial are slated to begin on March 29.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Hennepin County Government Center” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.