In a hearing Monday, Nelson said he is “gravely concerned” by the announcement, calling it “incredibly prejudicial.”
“It’s amazing to me, they had a press conference on Friday, where the mayor of Minneapolis, on stage with city council, and they’re using very, what I would say, very well-designed terminology. ‘The unanimous decision of the city council,’ for example. It just goes straight to the heart of the dangers of pretrial publicity,” Nelson said.
The defense said a delay of the trial or more questioning of jurors would be among the appropriate remedies.
The prosecution acknowledged that the timing of the settlement was “unfortunate” but pushed back against the defense’s proposed remedies.
“It’s unfortunate, and I wish they hadn’t done it, but I don’t sense any evil intent on the timing,” Cahill said.
The consequences of that settlement were made clear with the first juror questioned on Monday. The juror told the judge she “almost gasped” when she heard about the $27 million settlement and said she could not be fair to Chauvin. She was excused from the jury for cause.
The request came as the second week of jury selection got underway in the trial of Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police Officer accused of killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Floyd’s final moments, recorded on video, led to widespread protests against police brutality and racism under the banner Black Lives Matter as well as incidents of unrest and looting.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. He has also pleaded not guilty to third-degree murder, a charge which was reinstated in the case on Thursday.
Jury selection in the case began on March 9, and seven jurors have been seated in the case as of Monday morning. Fourteen total jurors are needed, including two alternates.
Of the seven jurors selected so far, four are white, one is Black, one is Hispanic, and one is mixed race, according to how the court says they self-identified on their jury survey. Five of the jurors are men and two are women.
Testimony is slated to start in the trial no earlier than March 29.