Morries Hall has invoked his 5th Amendment right not to testify in Derek Chauvin's trial.
Hall's attorney successfully argued that he would self-incriminate if he testified.
The judge also will not admit statements Hall previously made to investigators into evidence.
Judge Peter Cahill ruled Wednesday that the man who was in the car with George Floyd on the day of his death does not have to testify in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Morries Hall had invoked his 5th Amendment right, and Hall's attorney argued he could open himself up to a third-degree murder charge if he testified about being in the car with Floyd.
Hall had been sitting in the front passenger seat of a Mercedes SUV with Floyd when police approached on May 25, 2020, after Floyd was reported to have used a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods.
"Mr. Morries Lester Hall, through undersigned counsel, hereby provides notice to all parties in this matter that if called to testify he will invoke his fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination," a motion filed in late March from the Office of the Hennepin County Public Defender said.
In his opening statement, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, told jurors investigators found pill fragments that tested positive for a mixture of methamphetamine and fentanyl in the car. Those drugs were found in Floyd's system after his death.
Cup Foods cashier Christopher Martin testified that after Floyd left the store, his manager asked him to approach Floyd in the car. When he did, a passenger previously identified as Hall did most of the talking, Martin said.
Floyd's girlfriend at the time, Courteney Ross, told the court that she believed Hall sold Floyd drugs from time to time and she didn't "particularly like" him.
Even if Hall's testimony was limited to simply being in the car with Floyd and what his behavior was that day, it would still "set up a timeline" that the prosecution could use to charge Hall in the future, attorney Adrienne Cousins argued Wednesday.
Cahill also denied a defense request to admit statements that Hall previously made to investigators into evidence.
The ruling was a blow to the defense
Throughout the trial, medical experts called by the prosecution have said drug use was not a factor in Floyd's death.
Hall's previous statements, specifically that Floyd was falling asleep in his car before he was approached by police, would indicate to the jury that Floyd's drug use could've had an effect on his health that day.
On Tuesday, Shawanda Hill - who was also a passenger in the car that day - offered that testimony to the jury.
The prosecution could grant Hall immunity that would compel him to testify, but doesn't plan on it.
"The state is the only party to this that has the availability to offer Mr. Hall immunity and they have, at least in the chambers instructions, offered that they do not intend to offer Mr Hall immunity," Nelson said.
Chauvin, who is charged with murder and manslaughter, is accused of kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.
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