Judge Peter Cahill threatened to call a mistrial in Minnesota’s case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Wednesday after prosecutors tried to introduce additional evidence last-minute.
State prosecutors called Dr. Martin Tobin to testify a second time in the trial as a rebuttal witness to Dr. David Fowler, a witness for the defense on Wednesday, according to the Star-Tribune. During his testimony, Fowler had posited that carbon monoxide from a nearby police vehicle potentially played a role in the death of George Floyd.
Tobin disagreed with Fowler’s analysis that Floyd’s blood was saturated 10-18% with carbon monoxide. Tobin said Floyd’s blood was 98% saturated with oxygen, leaving only 0-2% left for carbon monoxide. As part of his rebuttal, Tobin intended to point to Floyd’s blood test results that measured the concentration of carbon monoxide.
Cahill shot down the prosecution’s attempt to introduce the test results as evidence last-minute after an objection from Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson. Nelson said prosecutors have known for weeks that Fowler had intended to bring up potential complications concerning carbon monoxide and should have sought to include the tests, conducted during Floyd’s autopsy, earlier.
Cahill agreed with Nelson, saying that if Tobin “even hints at test results the jury has not heard about, it’s gonna be a mistrial, pure and simple.”
“This late disclosure is not the way we should be operating here,” Cahill said.
After Tobin’s testimony, the prosecution and defense wrapped up proceedings and Cahill dismissed the jury until Monday. The jury will hear closing arguments then, as well as begin deliberations on Chauvin’s guilt or innocence. The jury must vote unanimously to convict or acquit Chauvin on charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree unintentional murder, and third-degree murder.
Chauvin elected not to testify in his own trial Thursday, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. Cahill asked if Chauvin wanted the jury instructed to not assume his refusal to testify as evidence of his guilt, and Chauvin assented.
Chauvin was the second potential witness to plead the Fifth in his trial. Morries Hall, who sold Floyd drugs, according to Floyd’s girlfriend, also pleaded the Fifth. Hall was allegedly in the vehicle with Floyd when Floyd was arrested before his death on May 25 last year. In addition to Hall not testifying, Cahill also blocked the jury from reading a 90-minute interview between Hall and state investigators.
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified that Hall was with Floyd on May 25 and that he had sold both her and Floyd drugs. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
Later in the trial, Ross confirmed that Floyd was with Morries Hall, who had sold both her and Floyd drugs, at the time of Floyd’s arrest in May. She said that the pills she and Floyd got in May reminded her of some she took in March that kept her up all night and left her feeling jittery, and that she believed they came from Hall, but was she was not sure, according to the Star-Tribune.
Earlier, while talking to the FBI, Ross had said that those pills she and Floyd got had left her feeling like she was going to die.
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