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Judge dismisses Chauvin defense motion to quash trial, but says comments from Representative Maxine Waters ‘could lead to this whole case being quashed’


Rep. Maxine Waters takes off her mask to speak at a signing ceremony for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Better Health Care Act. Associated press / Andrew Harnik

  • Derek Chauvin’s defense cited comments from U.S. Representative Maxine Waters in a motion to quash the trial.

  • Over the weekend, Waters called on protesters to stay on the streets if there is no guilty verdict.

  • Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the motion but said Waters may have appealed to the defense.

  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

Two nights before the jury began deliberating in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters visited Brooklyn Center, Minnesota and called on protesters to “stay on the streets” and “become more conflictual ”if there is no guilty verdict.

On Monday, the defense for the fired Minneapolis police officer cited the words to call for the trial to be quashed.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson said Waters’ comments over the weekend, coupled with Chauvin’s recent content on several fictional TV shows, reinforced his previous argument that the judge should have sequestered the jury and ordered them to avoid all media throughout the trial.

Justice Peter Cahill dismissed the motion to quash the trial. But he spoke harshly of elected officials who spoke out about the trial while it was still unfolding, saying they had a constitutional duty not to interfere with the judicial process.

“I’m going to tell you that maybe Congresswoman Waters appealed to you that could lead to this whole thing being quashed,” Cahill said.

A message seeking comment from Waters’ office was not immediately returned late Monday afternoon.

Cahill said he didn’t think the jury was prejudiced by comments from elected officials because they were instructed not to watch the news. Jurors will be held in a hotel until they have a verdict.

“I wish the elected officials would stop talking about the matter,” Cahill said. “Their failure to do so is heinous, but I don’t think it prejudiced the jury.”

“The opinion of a congressman doesn’t really matter that much,” he added.

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