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Judge imposes gag order

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge on Thursday imposed a gag order on attorneys in the case involving four former Minneapolis police officers who are charged in the death of George Floyd.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill issued his order the day after he pointed out that two or more attorneys granted interviews or talked to the news media. Cahill didn’t name the attorneys, but defense attorney Earl Gray spoke to the Star Tribune and WCCO-AM about his motion to dismiss charges against his client, former Officer Thomas Lane.

The judge said in his order that continuing pretrial publicity in the case would increase the risk of tainting the potential jury pool and “will impair all parties’ right to a fair trial.” Cahill previously warned that he would likely move the trials or trial — if the four are tried together — out of Minneapolis if public officials, attorneys and family members didn’t stop speaking out about the case.

Floyd died after Officer Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man’s neck for nearly eight minutes on May 25. The officers were responding to a call about a man trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby store. Floyd’s death sparked protests around the world.

Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and other counts, while Lane, 37, J. Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. The officers were fired after Floyd’s death.

Authorities: Tornado claims victim

DALTON (AP) — Powerful tornadoes that ripped across farmland in western Minnesota, killing one person and injuring two others, could have exacted a higher death toll if the twisters had struck a more populous area, authorities said Thursday.

Severe storms that swept through parts of the Midwest on Wednesday produced at least two tornadoes that damaged farms near Dalton, about 153 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

A 30-year-old man, Seth Nelson of rural Battle Lake, was killed when a twister destroyed a large garage in which he was working Wednesday evening, said Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Van Dyke.

Two others were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Van Dyke said. The couple, who lived in the path of one of the tornadoes, were treated for minor injuries and released.

According to initial estimates, up to seven homes and outbuildings were damaged, including shops and garages, Otter Tail County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons said Thursday.

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