George Floyd pal may need to testify at Derek Chauvin murder trial: judge

More On:

George Floyd

Floyd’s ‘murder’ wasn’t racist and other commentary

Chauvin did everything wrong, police chief says

Doctor who treated George Floyd says this could have saved his life

Minneapolis police chief who called George Floyd death ‘murder’ set to take stand

The judge at the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin said George Floyd’s pal could have to testify about what state Floyd was in before he died.

Morries Lester Hall, 42, was with Floyd in his SUV when police arrested his longtime friend for passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis convenience store on May 25 — leading to Floyd’s police-custody death.

But in a surprise motion last week, Hall asked not to be called as a witness in the murder trial.

His lawyer argued he would incriminate himself even if he only testified about Floyd’s condition — when he reportedly began to fall asleep in the vehicle before cops showed up.

But Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill didn’t entirely agree, saying that Hall could address his friend’s state before his death without incriminating himself.

Cahill said he would rule on the issue later in the trial, but warned Tuesday that Hall could face contempt charges if he refused to testify at all.

“This isn’t the final ruling,” the judge said. “We need to tread carefully, obviously. Fifth Amendment right is a broad one.”

“Your honor, at this point in time Mr. Hall has no immunity,” his lawyer, Adrienne Cousins, told the judge Tuesday morning. “He has been provided no immunity, no protection for his testimony whatsoever.”

“And because of that Mr. Hall is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in several key areas of questioning that we believe he would face.”

Cousins said Hall could be charged with third-degree murder in Floyd’s death in the future because he was in the car with him before he died.

Prosecutors and Chauvin’s lawyers both want Hall to testify, with defense lawyer Eric Nelson saying he would like to ask him if he sold Floyd drugs.

Hall gave cops a phony name at the scene of Floyd’s death and later fled the state following the high-profile incident before Texas Rangers caught up with him there.

Cahill agreed that Hall could incriminate himself if he testified about drug use or the counterfeit $20 bill, but not if he testified only about Floyd’s condition. Hall and another companion told investigators earlier that Floyd was falling asleep in the vehicle.

Cousins disagreed, saying Hall could still face future charges just by being “in proximity” to Floyd before the deadly encounter with police.

Coroners found fentanyl in Floyd’s system, and the dead man’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified earlier at the trial that Floyd had purchased drugs from Hall in the past.

Chauvin, who was seen on viral video pressing his knee to a handcuffed Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, is facing second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter charges in the case.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article