The jury for the upcoming murder trial of ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin — who is charged in the death of George Floyd — is back up to nine members after two more were picked Wednesday — replacing two others who were dropped earlier in the day.
The new jurors were empaneled just hours after two others picked last week were suddenly dismissed by Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill after they conceded that a $27 million wrongful death settlement for Floyd’s family had changed their ability to be impartial.
Defense lawyers have argued that news of the hefty payout Friday may have tainted the jury pool by suggesting Chauvin is guilty.
However, the two new jurors picked Wednesday — a black man and a white woman — said it wasn’t enough to sway them.
“I don’t think that that declares guilt one way or another,” one of the new jurors told the judge. “I think people settle for many reasons.”
The panel now has three black men, three white women, two white men, and a woman of mixed race — with three more and two alternates still to be selected.
Lawyers in the case had questioned 13 consecutive prospective jurors since Monday who were dismissed, either by the judge or the attorneys on either side, before seating the two new ones Wednesday.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson has struggled finding jurors he feels can be impartial — using 12 of his 15 allotted challenges going into Wednesday’s proceedings.
State prosecutors had burned through six of their nine.
Chauvin is charged with second and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing on May 25.
Opening arguments are presently scheduled for March 29.