State Watch

Friend of Floyd invokes Fifth Amendment, will not testify in Chauvin trial

A friend of George Floyd who was with him the day he died will not testify in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the judge ruled on Wednesday morning.

Morries Hall, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with Floyd last May before he was arrested by police, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on Wednesday.

The move from Hall comes after the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office earlier this month filed a notice that said that Hall, who was identified as a potential witness by both the prosecution and defense, would “invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination” if called to testify.

Hall’s lawyer, Adrienne Cousins, said on Wednesday that if her client testified about Floyd’s actions, or even being in the car with Floyd, he could potentially incriminate himself.

“Mr. Hall can not put himself in that car with Mr. Floyd,” Cousins said.

“This was a car that was searched twice, and drugs were recovered twice. If Mr. Hall puts himself in that car he exposes himself to constructive possession charges of the drugs that were found in that car,” she continued.

Cousins also noted that regardless of the verdict in the Chauvin trial, Hall could still be subject to charges if he testifies.

“Mr. Hall exposes himself to that charge whether or not Mr. Chauvin is convicted or acquitted. Whatever happens with this case, the state can still come back and charge Mr. Hall with constructive possession of drugs in that car so he can’t put himself in that car,” she added.

Hall later said, in discussion with Judge Peter Cahill, that he reviewed the questions proposed by both sides. When asked if he would be willing to answer those if sworn in on the stand, Hall said “no, I am not.”

“Why would you not answer those?” Cahill asked.

“I am fearful of criminal charges going forward. I have open charges that’s not settled yet of my personal stuff,” Hall responded.

Hall then confirmed that he was invoking his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

Cahill said Hall has a “complete Fifth Amendment privilege,” and went on to quash the subpoena for Hall’s testimony.

The second passenger in the car with Floyd last May, Shawanda Hill, testified on Tuesday, in the 12th day of the Chauvin trial.

The prosecution rested their case on Tuesday morning, after more than two weeks of testimony from police officers, bystanders, paramedics, use-of-force experts and those close to Floyd.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is on trial for three criminal counts in connection to Floyd’s death. In May 2020, he was captured on video footage kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until the man became unresponsive. 

Floyd was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. 

Tags Derek Chauvin trial Fifth Amendment

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