See inside the courtroom where Derek Chauvin will be tried
The demands of the high proﬁle Derek Chauvin court proceedings combined with the limitations of large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic have created an unusual courtroom setting in the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. Here's where participants will be positioned in courtroom C-1856. Jury selection started Monday, and opening statements are slated for March 29.
Seating: Far fewer seats than usual will be available in order to maintain social distancing. There will be plexiglass partitions between some seats in the courtroom, and hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be provided for trial participants.
Face coverings: Will be required for the judge, staff and anyone else in the courtroom or other public areas in the Government Center.The judge can order the removal of face coverings if other measures are available, such as face shields or plexiglass barriers. Anyone claiming they cannot wear a face covering due to a health condition must provide medical documentation, and they will be required to wear a face shield.
The jury: District Court Judge Peter A. Cahill, who will preside over Chauvin's trial, has approved up to 16 jurors, with up to four serving as alternates. The number will be determined during jury selection.
Defense participants: Will include defendant Derek Chauvin, and up to four members of the defense team. Eric J. Nelson is Chauvin's lead defense counsel. One observer for the defense, which could be a family member or supporter of Chauvin, will also be allowed.
State participants: Will include up to four members of the state's prosecution team. Matthew Frank of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office is the lead prosecutor. One observer for the state will be allowed. This could be a member of Floyd's family or a victim witness advocate, who may assist the victim's family and help manage witnesses during testimony.
Other participants: Will include a judge's clerk, and a court reporter who will transcribe the proceedings.
Media: Only two positions for media seating are allowed in the courtroom and will be rotated daily — one pool print reporter and one TV reporter.
Livestream: This trial will be the first high-profile criminal trial in a Minnesota state court to be broadcast live. A video and audio feed of the proceedings will be provided by Court TV, beginning with jury selection. StarTribune.com will offer a free livestream of the trial each day. Court TV will also carry the proceedings live.
Media overflow: Members of the press will watch the proceedings in the media center in the 625 Building across the street from the Government Center. A live television feed will cover the entire trial via three cameras positioned in the courtroom. The video feed will be strictly controlled with limited access to visuals from the proceedings.