ST. PAUL -- The prosecution in the case against the former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with the death of George Floyd filed a motion Tuesday, Jan. 19, asking a judge to reconsider last week’s order to try Derek Chauvin separately.

Last week, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill ordered that two separate trials be held for the former officers: one on March 8 for Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. And, another for Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao beginning Aug. 23. Those three are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

In Tuesday’s motion, the prosecution argues that all the defendants should be tried together in the summer, and that going forward with Chauvin’s trial in March would pose a public health risk due to COVID-19.

An affidavit from Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Coronavirus Advisory Board, was filed along with the prosecution’s motion.

In the affidavit, Osterholm says that Chauvin’s scheduled trial date beginning on March 8 could become a “superspreader” event, and that the new COVID-19 variant originally discovered in the United Kingdom could lead to more coronavirus transmission.

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“It could be extremely dangerous to hold a trial for Mr. Chauvin in March 2021,” Osterholm said in his affidavit. “Doing so could have potentially catastrophic consequences for public health.”

Osterholm adds that holding two trials also could pose higher risks of COVID-19 transmission, giving trial participants and attendees more chances of contracting the virus.

The prosecution filed a similar motion in December asking for the trial to be moved to summer, arguing that the colder March weather could lead to protestors gathering outside the courthouse during the trial to seek shelter indoors, which could increase COVID-19 spread. Additionally, the prosecution argued that more members of the general public would likely be vaccinated for the virus by this summer.

The prosecution added in Tuesday’s motion that last week’s court order separating Chauvin from the other defendants violates the rules for severance. The prosecution argues that the nature of the offense charged, impact on the victim, potential prejudice to the defendant and the interests of justice point to a joint trial for all four former officers instead of two separate trials.