Judge in Derek Chauvin trial blasts Maxine Waters’ explosive rhetoric, says may be grounds for an appeal

Judge Peter Cahill slammed inflammatory comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters during the closing remarks for the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, stating they could be grounds for appeal and may “result in this whole trial being overturned.”

Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson referenced Waters’ comments to Minnesota protesters during the George Floyd-related case on Monday while seeking a mistrial: “And now that we have [a] U.S. representative … threatening acts of violence in relation to this specific case, it’s mind-boggling…” The attorney was arguing that the jury may have been unduly influenced by the actions of Waters.

Judge Cahill was blunt in his remarks concerning Waters’ alleged incitement to violence and said he was aware of her comments about “the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction and talk about being confrontational.”

“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” Cahill stated. “I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect a coequal branch of government.”

(Video Credit: The Hill)

He went on to opine that he believed that Waters’ comments had not prejudiced the jury since they had been instructed to not watch the news. “Their failure to do so, I think, is abhorrent, but I don’t think it’s prejudiced us with additional material that would prejudice this jury,” he noted, adding that “a congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot.”

“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Cahill remarked to Nelson.

When Waters heard about the judge’s comments while leaving the House floor, she told reporters that “the judge says my words don’t matter.” Asked about the judge’s comments that her remarks may be grounds for an appeal, Waters said, “Oh no, no they didn’t.” She claimed that her aggressive commentary was based on the civil rights movement’s nonviolent history, stating that “the whole civil rights movement is confrontation.”

On Saturday, Waters attended a protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota following the officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright. She proceeded to whip up the mob in connection to the Chauvin trial over the death of George Floyd: “We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice.”

“We’ve got to stay in the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters declared in reference to the possibility that Chauvin might not be convicted. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Waters also said: “I hope we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away.”

The fate of the trial is now in the jury’s hands after three weeks of testimony and closing arguments.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated on Monday that Waters does not need to apologize for what she said during the protest and she also pointedly remarked that she thought her words would not incite violence. This follows two National Guardsmen being shot just hours after Waters’ remarks.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced on Monday that he will introduce a resolution to censure Waters for her alleged incitement to violence. “This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence. Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] is ignoring Waters’ behavior—that’s why I am introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments,” McCarthy stated on Twitter.

“I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up. I’m talking about legislation. I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation,” Waters told The Grio on Monday.

“I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say. This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them,” Waters commented.

There was a heated response on social media:


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