President Joe Biden said Tuesday he was “praying” for a guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, as the jury enters its second day of deliberations over the fate of the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd.
The president’s remarks represent some of the most opinionated comments he has offered about the case since Chauvin’s trial began in late March. Biden noted that he had waited until the Chauvin jury had been sequestered before offering his own feelings on the trial.
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is — I think it’s overwhelming, in my view,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that.”
Biden also elaborated on a phone call he made to the Floyd family Monday, after the prosecution and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments and the jury began its deliberations.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling. And so I waited until the jury was sequestered, and I called. And I wasn’t going to say anything about it,” Biden said.
“They’re a good family,” he added of the Floyds. “And they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is.”
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, first revealed Tuesday morning that Biden had reached out to the family. The White House later confirmed the call.
“He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through,” Philonise Floyd told NBC’s “Today” show. “So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”
A verdict could be reached in Chauvin’s trial at any time. The former officer is charged with three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The most serious charge carries a maximum 40-year sentence.
Several governors have already deployed National Guard troops to major cities this week in anticipation of potential unrest that could be sparked by the verdict.
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