Morries Hall—an alleged drug dealer who was with George Floyd when he was arrested on May 25—is now refusing to testify in court, deploying his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Hall’s attorney suggested that her client’s testimony could result in a third-degree murder charge in the death of Floyd due to his alleged drug activity with the 46-year-old immediately preceding Floyd’s arrest.
Journalist Jack Posobiec tweeted: “George Floyd’s drug dealer just refused to testify because he could be found guilty of 3rd degree murder for selling Floyd the drugs that proximately caused his death.”
Eric Nelson—the defense attorney for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin—says Hall provided drugs to Floyd before the incident occurred. Because of this, Hall would be able to give specific details about what went on in the Cup Foods before the arrest, the apparent counterfeit money Floyd used there, and Floyd’s temporary inability to wake up after he ingested Percocet pills.
“This will include evidence that while they were in the car, Mr. Floyd consumed what were thought to be two Percocet [painkiller] pills,” Nelson stated during his opening statement, according to ABC News reported. It was reported that Floyd, Hall, and Floyd’s ex-girlfriend were sitting together in a Mercedes Benz SUV before the events of the day further transpired.
“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.
According to ABC News, Nelson would have also asked 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 in an attempt to block subpoenas from both the prosecution and defense teams, according to the Daily Wire.
“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 pivotal “link in the chain” to Floyd’s death, leaving Hall open to a third-degree murder charge.
Judge Cahill is reportedly considering options concerning testimony from Hall, including a narrow scope of non-self-incriminating questions in written form.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank is arguing against the narrow-scope questioning, saying: “This questioning would not exist in a vacuum.”
“There would be other questioning and we would have the right to question him about his credibility and other aspects of that interaction that would lead, unfortunately and potentially, to him invoking question by question in front of the jury.”
Chauvin is currently on trial for second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in relation to Floyd’s death. Though the former officer can be found guilty of all charges, he may also be found guilty of some and perhaps none.
According to the Associated Press, Chauvin is likely looking at “serving about 12 1/2 years whether he is convicted of second or third-degree murder.” The manslaughter charge, which comes with the lowest burden of proof, would bring a maximum of 10 years in prison.