Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A judge ruled Thursday that former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd will be tried in Hennepin County, where the incident occurred.
Chauvin, who is seen in video footage kneeling on Floyd's neck as he died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The remaining three officers are charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd's death.
All of the former officers are free on bail.
The four defense attorneys had wanted the trial to be held separately for a number of reasons, including pre-trial publicity.
However, Cahill ruled against a change of venue because he said that the law requires trials to be held in the county where the crime occurred except under special circumstances.
In this case, "no corner of the state of Minnesota has been shielded," from pretrial publicity, Cahill said, and "a change of venue is unlikely to cure the taint of prejudicial pretrial publicity raised by lawyers for the defendant."
Cahill also ruled the four officers be tried together instead of separately, citing emotional toll on eyewitnesses, especially minors, financial cost, and danger of testifying amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The impact on eyewitnesses has greater import here where it appears at least two of the eyewitnesses watching the defendants' restraint of Floyd and his death are minors, whom the law deems to be particularly vulnerable," the judge wrote in a 51-page memo on his decision.
Still, Cahill said that the court may reconsider moving the trial as the case moves forward.
Cahill also ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom, but the jurors cannot be shown and they will remain sequestered and anonymous.
"I'm satisfied with the rulings of Hennepin District Court to keep the trial of the defendants in the murder of George Floyd in Hennepin County and to join all four defendants into one trial," Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. "It is also true that they acted in concert with each other and the evidence against them is similar, so it is right to try them in one trial."
Cahill also reversed his decision in September imposing a ban on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and three of his staffers from working on the case, citing "sloppy" work since some staff lawyers had met with the Hennepin County medical examiner without a non-attorney present.
Cahill vacated the ban and ruled that Freeman and his three staffers could continue to participate in the prosecution, but could not appear as advocates in the trial or sign any motions.