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Judge rejects state's request to reconsider separate trial for Derek Chauvin

Chauvin will stand trial in March, while three other former MPD officers will go to trial this summer in the death of George Floyd.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Hennepin County judge has denied a request by state prosecutors to reconsider a decision separating the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin from the cases of three other former MPD officers. 

All four defendants are charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. Former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane are each charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

On Jan. 11, Judge Peter Cahill ordered Chauvin to stand trial in March, while the other former officers will go to trial in late summer. At the time, Cahill noted the difficulty of holding a joint trial with a large number of participants and the need to maintain COVID-19 safety measures.

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office, which is handling the prosecution, filed a motion to reconsider on Tuesday. In its filing, prosecutors said the state is prepared to prosecute all four men together as early as March, but also sought to delay any joint trial to summer in the interests of public health.

However, in a brief order released Thursday, Judge Cahill denied the state's motion, citing the reasoning in his original order, which noted "the present impossibility of holding a joint trial with all four defendants even in the largest available courtroom in the Hennepin County Government Center given social distancing requirements in light of COVID."

Chauvin's trial is scheduled to begin on March 8.

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