The judge overseeing the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday harshly criticized US Representative Maxine Waters' remarks on the case, saying she might have given the defence grounds for appeal in the event of a conviction.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said during the closing moments of Chauvin's trial that it was abhorrent of Waters, a Democrat from California, to tell protesters it would be unacceptable for the former officer to be acquitted of murdering George Floyd.
"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," Cahill said after dismissing jurors from the courtroom.
A spokesman for Waters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chauvin, who is white, pushed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed black man, in May 2020 for more than nine minutes, sparking protests around the world over police brutality.
Cahill's remarks came after Chauvin's defence lawyer requested a mistrial, arguing Waters' comments had tainted the proceeding.
Cahill denied the request, but said the defence's concerns were legitimate.
"I'll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result on this whole trial being overturned," Cahill said.
Waters was in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, at the weekend to show support for protests over the death of Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed on April 11 by a police officer during a traffic stop.
Waters told the protesters to "stay on the street" and "to get more confrontational" if Chauvin was found not guilty.
Chauvin trial jurors began deliberating on Monday.
Australian Associated Press