Chauvin defense tries to use Rep. Maxine Waters’ comments to seek mistrial
The judge denied the motion for a mistrial with the claim that one congresswoman’s opinion won’t make the difference.
Eric Nelson, former police officer Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, filed a motion for a mistrial citing comments made by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” said Judge Peter Cahill. He continued to express disdain for all politicians speaking of and sharing their opinions on the trial.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and the judicial branch and our function. I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is respectful to the constitution.”
He continued, “Their failure to do so I think is abhorrent, but I don’t think it is prejudiced us with additional material that would prejudice this jury. They have been told not to watch the news. I trust they are following those instructions…a congresswoman’s opinion really does not matter a whole lot.”
Waters faced criticism for traveling to Minnesota protests and speaking out against police violence. In an exclusive interview with theGrio, the congresswoman explained she traveled to Brooklyn Center — where former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright — because she “could not rest” after seeing yet another unarmed Black man killed by law enforcement.
The most troubling part is that this tragedy occurred just a few miles away from the Derek Chauvin trial in the murder of George Floyd.
“We’ve got to stay in the street and demand justice,” Waters said during the demonstration. “We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice.”
She continued, “We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
After making these remarks during Saturday evening’s protest, while she addressed the press, Republicans made attempts to use them against her. By Sunday, the congresswoman’s comments, which lasted several minutes, had become a headline on conservative media.
Republicans zeroed in on Waters’ use of the word “confrontational” when encouraging protesters to continue calls for justice in the countless police-involved killings of Black Americans.
Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), among others, accused Waters of inciting violence, with Taylor Greene even vowing to introduce a House resolution to expel Waters. In a statement, Taylor Greene accused the 82-year-old chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee in Congress of inciting “Black Lives Matter domestic terrorists to fire gunshots at National Guardsmen in Minnesota.”
Waters shared with theGrio a defense of her commentary. She dismissed suggestions that she was encouraging violence. “I am nonviolent,” she said. The congresswoman said attempts to characterize her words and suggest otherwise is nothing more than a political tactic by the GOP.
“Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent … any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats] backs,” Waters added.
She added, “I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up. I’m talking about legislation. I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation.”
According to NBC News, President Joe Biden is expected to deliver remarks after the jury reaches a verdict. The White House has reportedly paid attention to the trial and has been preparing a statement for the last two weeks on how to react to various verdicts.
The administration has also held meetings with counterterrorism and Homeland Security advisers and Cedric Richmond, the White House director of public engagement, to prepare for possible public demonstrations.
“We are working with state and local leaders to advance our shared goal of ensuring public safety and citizens’ rights to peaceful protest,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a press briefing earlier this month.
“The president will continue to monitor the developments, and our team will remain in contact with these officials on the ground, as well as with civil rights leaders and community stakeholders.”
Biden has spoken to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Gerren Keith Gaynor.
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