Minnesota prosecutors will ask a state appeals court Monday to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against ex-cop Derek Chauvin in the police-custody death of George Floyd.
The arguments before the Minnesota Court of Appeals come one week before jury selection is due to being in Chauvin’s murder trial in Hennepin County District Court.
Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death, also faced the lesser murder charge until a judge dropped it last year.
But prosecutors want to reinstate the third-degree murder charge to give jurors an additional conviction option if the panel waivers on the more serious second-degree charge.
“Right now, the attorney general’s office desperately wants this charge and they are pulling out all the stops,” Joe Tamburino, a Minnesota defense attorney not tied to the case, told WCCO-TV.
Nonetheless, Monday’s appeals hearing could delay the start of the trial if either side appeals that decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Currently, jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday, with opening arguments due to begin no earlier than March 29. The trial is expected to take two to four weeks.
Chauvin is accused of pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes outside a Minneapolis convenienc store despite his pleas for air.
The incident sparked worldwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, prompting city and state officials to put unprecedented security measures in place for Chauvin’s murder trial.
Three other former Minneapolis cops are scheduled to stand trial separately on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.