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State seeks to delay trial of former MPD officers in George Floyd's death

Prosecutors want to move the case to June, citing COVID-19 vaccine availability in reducing any public health risks.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has filed a motion in Hennepin County District Court, seeking to delay the trial of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

The trial is currently scheduled to begin on March 8, 2021. In the filing, state prosecutors are asking the court to delay the trial until June 7, citing wider availability of a COVID-19 vaccine that could potentially reduce any public health risks during a trial, or any potential delays due to COVID-19 illnesses.

"Although the State stands ready to try this case on the current trial date of March 8, it believes that a three-month continuance is in the best interests of public health," the filing states.

Prosecutors say they're confident the court is following all necessary protocols, but add that the high-profile nature of the case will pose unique public health risks due to the number of participants and witnesses, in addition to the likelihood of large public demonstrations outside the courtroom.

Earlier in December, defense attorneys for former officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao filed separate motions asking the court to delay the trial until July 5, accusing prosecutors of violating a court order to share discovery material with the defense. 

RELATED: Motions filed to delay trial in George Floyd's death

A judge is expected to consider the motions to delay the trial in a hearing scheduled for early January.

Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. Fellow 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.