U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned Tuesday that he’s “praying the verdict is the right verdict” within the homicide trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and that he believed the case, which has gone to the jury and put the nation on edge, to be “overwhelming.”
Biden, forward of a gathering with lawmakers within the Oval Office, advised reporters that he was solely weighing in on the trial into the demise of George Floyd, who died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, as a result of the jury within the case had been sequestered.
He confirmed that he known as Floyd’s household on Monday to supply prayers and mentioned he “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” Biden mentioned. “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
The U.S. president has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s demise however had beforehand stopped in need of weighing in on the trial itself, with White House officers earlier saying it could be improper for a president to talk out throughout lively judicial proceedings.
His feedback got here as his administration has been privately weighing easy methods to deal with the upcoming verdict, together with contemplating whether or not Biden ought to deal with the nation and dispatching specifically skilled group facilitators from the Justice Department, aides and officers advised The Associated Press.
WATCH | Jury begins deliberating in Derek Chauvin’s homicide path:
Biden’s comments come a day after Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the trial, admonished elected officials for speaking out about the case.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that’s disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” he said shortly after sending the jury to begin deliberations.
Officials’ remarks could be grounds for appeal
Biden’s comments come with some risk. Defence attorneys often cite remarks made by public officials as a reason to appeal a verdict, in part because it could influence the jury against the defendant.
Cahill delivered his rebuke after rejecting a defence request for a mistrial based in part on comments from California Rep. Maxine Waters, who said “we’ve got to get more confrontational” if Chauvin isn’t convicted of murder.
Speaking of politicians in general, he said, “I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution to respect a coequal branch of government. Their failure to do so, I think, is abhorrent.”
He conceded to Chauvin’s attorneys that Waters’s comments could potentially be grounds for an appeal.
On Monday, Cahill ordered that the jury be sequestered in an undisclosed hotel during their deliberations and instructed jurors to avoid all news about the case, which in theory should keep them from being made aware of Biden’s remarks.
The jury resumed deliberations Tuesday morning after spending a few hours Monday discussing the case behind closed doors. In closing arguments earlier in the day, a prosecutor told jurors that Chauvin “had to know” he was squeezing the life out of George Floyd as he cried over and over that he couldn’t breathe and finally fell silent. Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges.
Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told NBC’s Today show that Biden “knows how it is to lose a family member … so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything would come out to be OK.”
WATCH | Attorney representing Floyd’s family and Wright’s families reacts to trial:
Psaki on Tuesday mentioned Biden was “not looking to influence” the result and would weigh in additional as soon as the jury reached a verdict. Biden has but to ship expansive remarks as president on race and policing.
Pressed to develop on the president’s remarks, Psaki added, “I’m not going to provide additional analysis on what he meant.”
The White House, in the meantime, was stepping up preparations for the upcoming verdict. Psaki mentioned administration officers have been in touch with leaders in Minnesota and in other cities and states that noticed unrest after Floyd’s demise final 12 months.