The defense reportedly wants to focus on drug use.
Morries Hall, a key witness in the trial of Derek Chauvin, is threatening to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because his lawyer argues that any statement about his alleged drug activity with George Floyd could possibly lead to him being charged with third-degree murder in Floyd's death.
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Hall was in the car with Floyd the day he died. The currently incarcerated man appeared at a court hearing via Zoom on Tuesday morning. His attorney stated that Hall has no immunity from the prosecution for the testimony about Hall and Floyd's behavior while seated in a Mercedes Benz SUV before the police arrived and arrested Floyd.
During his opening statement, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, told the jury they would hear from Hall, who had been identified as an alleged drug dealer from whom Floyd purchased drugs.
"This will include evidence that while they were in the car, Mr. Floyd consumed what were thought to be two Percocet [painkiller] pills," Nelson said during his opening statement, naming Hall and Shawanda Hill, Floyd's former girlfriend, as passengers in the SUV with Floyd outside the Cup Foods prior to police arriving on the scene.
The police were called to the store after Floyd allegedly used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.
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"Mr. Floyd's friends will explain that Mr. Floyd fell asleep in the car and that they couldn't wake him up to get going, that they thought the police might be coming because now the store [employees] were coming out," Nelson said.
Nelson is undermining the primary allegation that Chavin killed Floyd by planting his knee in Floyd's neck. Instead, the defense argues that a combination of the drugs fentanyl and methamphetamine is the main contributor to Floyd's death.
We will keep you updated as the trial continues.