Morries Hall, an alleged drug dealer who was with George Floyd during his arrest on May 25, is refusing to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Hall’s lawyer contends that her client’s testimony could lead to a third-degree murder charge in the death of Floyd, because of his alleged drug activity with 46-year-old just before the arrest.
Eric Nelson, defense attorney for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, says Hall gave drugs to Floyd before the incident, and could testify on specifics about, for example, what went on in the Cup Foods, the alleged counterfeit money, and Floyd’s apparent temporary inability to wake up after he ingested Percoset pills.
“This will include evidence that while they were in the car, Mr. Floyd consumed what were thought to be two Percoset [painkiller] pills,” Nelson said during his opening statement, ABC News reported. Floyd, Hall, and Floyd’s ex-girlfriend were sitting in a Mercedes Benz SUV before the events of the day further unrolled.
“Mr. Floyd’s friends will explain that Mr. Floyd fell asleep in the car and that they couldn’t wake him up to get going, that they thought the police might be coming because now the store [employees] were coming out,” Nelson continued.
As noted by ABC News, Nelson would also ask Hall about “where Floyd got the counterfeit $20 bill, whether Floyd obtained drugs from him, their activities before they arrived at Cup Foods, their interactions with employees inside the store, why he and Floyd gave police false names and why Hall left the state immediately after Floyd’s death. He also said he intends to ask Hall about what was in a backpack he was seen holding during the encounter with police.”
Hall’s lawyer, Adrienne Cousins, has filed a motion attempting to block subpoenas from both the prosecution and defense teams.
“Your honor, I cannot envision any topic that Mr. Hall would be called to testify on that would be both relevant to the case that would not incriminate him,” Cousins told Judge Peter Cahill on Tuesday. “Mr. Hall’s testimony in these matters would specifically put him in the position of being in very close proximity to Mr. Floyd, in a vehicle where drugs were found during a search by police following Floyd’s death.”
The assistant Hennepin County public defender argued her client’s testimony could be a “link in the chain” to Floyd’s death, leaving Hall open to a third-degree murder charge.
Judge Cahill is considering options concerning testimony from Hall, including a narrow scope of non-self-incriminating questions in written form.
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