Derek Chauvin trial: Can Morries Hall be charged? George Floyd's friend with him in car wants to plead the 5th
While Judge Peter Cahill agreed most questions Hall could face on the witness stand would potentially incriminate him, there was still a chance questions could be limited to him being in the car with Floyd and testifying to the deceased's behavior that day
The attorney for Morries Hall, one of the people with George Floyd the day he died, argued on Tuesday, April 6, that her client could face a third-degree murder charge if he’s forced to testify in Derek Chauvin’s ongoing trial.
Hall, who had had initially spoken out about the incident, insisting that Floyd did not resist arrest, appeared via videoconference as his lawyer Adrienne Cousins explained to the court why her client is planning to invoke the Fifth Amendment, a constitutional right against self-incrimination. “There’s an allegation here that Mr. Floyd ingested a controlled substance as police were removing him from the car — a car, by the way, that has been searched twice and, to my understanding, drugs have been found in that car twice,” she said. “This leaves Mr. Hall potentially incriminating himself in a future prosecution for third-degree murder.”
All of this played out on the seventh day of witness testimony in Chauvin’s trial. Chauvin is the first ex-Minneapolis officer to be tried in Floyd’s killing after having pinned the victim to the ground on May 25 and kneeling on his neck for approximately nine minutes as the handcuffed Black man begged for his life.
Can Morries Hall be charged in George Floyd's murder?
Since prosecutors never offered him immunity, Hall, who is currently in jail on charges unrelated to Floyd’s death, could theoretically be charged in Floyd’s death. At the moment it is unclear as to whether Hall provided Floyd with any drugs before the deadly arrest. Floyd’s girlfriend testified last week that she believed her boyfriend sometimes did buy drugs from Hall and from Shawanda Hill, the other passenger in the car.
While Judge Peter Cahill agreed that most questions Hall could face on the witness stand would potentially incriminate him, there was still a chance that questions directed to Hall could be limited to him being in the car with Floyd and testifying to the deceased's behavior that day. As a result, Cahill has asked defense attorney Eric Nelson to draft some potential questions and bring them to him on Thursday so the court can decide whether the particular line of questioning would be appropriate. If Cahill rules that Hall must testify on a pre-approved line of questioning, Hall would have no choice but to take the stand or be held in contempt.
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Hall filed a motion with Hennepin County District Court where he gave notice that he would plead the Fifth if called upon to testify by either side.
Forty-two-year-old Morries Lester Hall, whose name was earlier spelled as Maurice, looked up to Floyd as a friend and mentor. He had known him for many years as a fellow Houston native, he told New York Times in an earlier interview from June 2020. Before Floyd's death, Hall had spent most of Memorial Day together with him on May 25, 2020. The duo went together to Cup Foods where Floyd reportedly purchased cigarettes with a fake $20 bill. At the time of his arrest by police officers Lane and Keung, Hall was in the passenger seat of the same blue Mercedes SUV as Floyd.