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Judge issues gag order in George Floyd case

Judge Peter Cahill warned less than two weeks ago that a gag order was possible if public comments about the case didn't stop.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Hennepin County judge has issued a gag order in the George Floyd case.

Judge Peter Cahill filed the order in Hennepin County District Court on Thursday, saying that two or more attorneys representing parties in the case had talked with the media on Wednesday.

Cahill said in his order that "continuing pretrial publicity in this case by the attorneys involved will increase the risk of tainting a potential jury pool and will impair all parties' right to a fair trial."

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, after bystander video showed him with his knee on George Floyd's neck for nearly 8 minutes before Floyd was pronounced dead.

Former officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death.

RELATED: Attorney for Thomas Lane asks for dismissal of charges in George Floyd's death

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The judge's order applies to all four defendants, their defense attorneys, and prosecuting attorneys. They are not allowed to disclose, directly or indirectly, "any information, opinions, strategies, plans or potential evidence" related to the cases, either to the media or the public.

Cahill noted that access to public records is not affected by the order, and any public documents related to the cases will continue to be available on the court's website.

Judge Cahill said that the order was prompted by attorneys speaking to the media Wednesday after a motion to dismiss charges was filed in Lane's case.

However, Cahill said in court on June 29 that a gag order and a change of venue were both on the table, if public comments about the case continued.

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