State files motion to stop Chauvin trial from proceeding

Derek Chauvin (right) and attorney Eric Nelson (left) in the courtroom on Day 1 of jury selection in the trial for the death of George Floyd.

The prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial in the death of George Floyd filed a motion with the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday to stop the trial from proceeding until the district court regains full jurisdiction over the case.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill sent the pool of potential jurors home for the day after a second short session Monday morning. 

The motion from the prosecution, led by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, seeks a delay of the proceedings until the issue of a third-degree murder charge is settled to prevent any potential issues with the integrity of the case.

"There is no need for this kind of uncertainty in any case, let alone a case of this magnitude," the motion stated.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Cahill must reconsider reinstating a third-degree murder charge against Chauvin.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in George Floyd’s death last May. He was initially charged with third-degree murder as well, but Cahill dismissed the charge last October, saying it did not apply to this case.

The prosecution decided to push back on the third-degree murder charge after the Court of Appeals upheld the third-degree murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in a deadly 2017 shooting. Cahill denied the state's motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge, standing by his decision to dismiss the charge. However, the Court of Appeals ruled Cahill made the mistake of not following the Noor ruling as precedence.

"The district court therefore erred by concluding that it was not bound by the principles of law set forth in Noor and by denying the state’s motion to reinstate the charge of third-degree murder on that basis," read the order.

Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, told the court on Monday he plans to file a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals ruling on the third-degree murder charged. The Appeals Court order on the third-degree murder charge has not formally been entered, and won’t be entered pending the Supreme Court appeal, which is now holding up the trial proceedings.