A friend of George Floyd's who was with him when he was killed has again invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying in the upcoming trial of two ex-Minneapolis police officers who are charged with aiding and abetting Floyd's death.
In a motion filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court, public defender Adrienne Cousins wrote that Morries Lester Hall intends to invoke the Fifth if called to testify and asked the court to "quash the subpoena" calling on Hall to take the stand at the Oct. 24 trial of ex-officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao.
Hall invoked his right not to testify at the trial for ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder. Chauvin received a 20-year federal sentence for violating Floyd's civil rights that he will serve concurrently with the 22 ½-year state sentence for Floyd's murder.
Hall's testimony could have revealed that Floyd used drugs before police arrived at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in May 2020, according to Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson, who tried to argue that Floyd died of a drug overdose.
As Chauvin pinned his knee into the back of Floyd's neck, Floyd called out to Hall, using his nickname, "I love you, Reese!"
Kueng and Thao face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. They each rejected a plea deal earlier this week that would have allowed them to avoid trial and additional prison time.
The two ex-officers could have pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter and received three-year prison sentences to be served concurrently with their recent federal sentences. Kueng received three years and Thao received 3½ years for violating Floyd's civil rights.
Thomas Lane, the third officer who responded to the report of Floyd using a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue, was also convicted of depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights by failing to stop Chauvin from using excessive force. However, Lane pleaded guilty to state charges of aiding and abetting manslaughter to avoid a trial.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's officer ruled that Floyd died of cardiac arrest, while Floyd's family attorney said he was asphyxiated. During the federal civil rights trial of the three former officers, a Denver toxicology expert testified that Floyd died of asphyxia because his airway was restricted by Chauvin's knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.