OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
After California Rep. Maxine Waters was chastised by the judge in the Derek Chauvin murder trial one may expect she would be contrite and quiet. But think again.
Asked about what Judge Peter Cahill said after the defense for Chauvin asked for a mistrial following Rep. Waters’ comments, she said that she believes that the judge said he words did not matter, essentially declaring war on the judge’s admonishment, Politico reporter Olivia Beavers reported.
“Asked Rep. Maxine Waters as she was walking onto the House floor about gop criticism of her recent trial remarks. She told me: ‘The judge said my words don’t matter.’ The judge said her comments may have given the defense a reason for appeal, per a verbate,” she said.
Reuters reporter Jan Wolfe said that the judge’s comments were “confusing.”
“The judge’s remarks were confusing, in that he both said 1) the congresswoman’s opinion on the case ultimately doesn’t matter that much and 2) the defense had valid concerns about her comments tainting the trial. Seems like a contradiction,” she said.
What the judge ultimately said was that the congresswoman’s comments were not enough to declare a mistrial, and it would have been stunning for the judge to declare a mistrial at this part of the case when the jury was set to deliberate its verdict.
But he did say that, if Chauvin is convicted of anything Waters’ comments could be enough to get a retrial on appeal.
After the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments in the case on the death of George Floyd, the judge in the case said that Rep. Waters comments made this weekend could be cause for an appeal if Chauvin is convicted, The New York Times reported.
“An elected official, a United States congressperson, was making what I interpreted to be — what I think are reasonably interpreted to be — threats against the sanctity of the jury process,” Chauvin’ attorney, Eric J. Nelson, said.
The Judge in the Derek Chauvin trial just admitted: "Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned" due to her outrageous interview encouraging violence if Chauvin isn’t found guilty. https://t.co/Q7kelBaO04
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 19, 2021
Judge Peter A. Cahill absolutely scorched Rep. Waters in his response, in which he declined to declare a mistrial in the case.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” the judge said.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that’s disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” he said, adding that it is disrespectful the “coequal branches of government.”
“Their failure to do so is abhorrent,” he said.
His comments came on Monday, after the comments by Waters were heard at a protest for Floyd and for Daunte Wright, who was also killed in a confrontation with police.
“I hope that we’re going to get a verdict that says guilty guilty guilty,” she “And if we don’t, we cannot go away.”
She made it known that she was referring to a murder conviction and no less than that. When reporters asked what people should do if there was not a guilty verdict she said, “We’ve got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
If her words did not matter, as she claims, then those words could not be used as a basis for an appeal if Chauvin is convicted. And Republicans have been furious with her for it.
“Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past. If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week,” House Minority Leader and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter.