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Derek Chauvin Trial: Jury Selection Complete, 15 Seated

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After two and half weeks, a jury has been seated for the trial of Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case, Esme Murphy reports (2:36). WCCO 4 News At 6 - March 23, 2021

Video Transcript

FRANK VASCELLARO: After 2 and 1/2 weeks, a jury has been seated for the trial of Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case.

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: A 15th juror was chosen today after the judge said that he wanted an extra alternate for the start of the trial on Monday. It's a diverse group, including nine women and six men. Six people identify as Black or multiracial. All have promised to put their views aside and decide the case based on evidence. Esme Murphy has been following the case from the very beginning. She joins us now from near the courthouse. Hi there, Esme.

ESME MURPHY: Hi, Amelia. The fact that a jury has been seated is really no small feat observers on both sides were worried that they could not find enough impartial jurors, but, in fact, they have. And so now we are ready for opening statements and testimony to begin on Monday in a trial that will be watched around the world.

PETER CAHILL: All right. We have 15.

ESME MURPHY: Judge Peter Cahill appeared relieved after the parties found another juror. Cahill has been clear he wants nothing to derail the case.

PETER CAHILL: The point of this 15th juror was to make sure that we're going to have 14 people to show up on Monday.

ESME MURPHY: Cahill said he would dismiss the 15th juror on Monday because there is literally not enough room in the courtroom. 12 jurors and two alternates will hear the evidence. Joe Tamburino is a criminal defense attorney not affiliated with the case.

Is it risky going into this trial with just two alternate jurors?

JOE TAMBURINO: Yes, extremely risky, and here's why. Because of COVID, we know that there is a chance that one or two, maybe more, of these jurors could get sick.

ESME MURPHY: If three or more jurors get sick there could be a pause in the trial or a mistrial. The question at the heart of the trial was laid out in jury selection. What actually caused George Floyd's death? The defense arguing it was Floyd's poor health and drugs in his system. The prosecution saying it was Derek Chauvin's knee.

JOE TAMBURINO: This case will be a battle of the experts, both medical experts and police use of force experts. So it's going to be very interesting to see how either side lays out their case in opening statements.

ESME MURPHY: And how do jurors weigh experts? They just have to decide which one is more credible?

JOE TAMBURINO: That's correct.

ESME MURPHY: So we are all set for Monday morning. What will happen first is jury instructions, then opening statements. The prosecution will go first, then the defense, and then testimony will finally begin.

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: All right. Thank you, Esme. CBSN Minnesota is your source for live updates during the Derek Chauvin trial. We will stream the entire trial with opening statements starting on Monday. You can watch free on any device through the CBS News app or just go to WCCO.com.