A key state witness has declined to testify in Derek Chauvin’s murder case, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Morries Lester Hall, 42, was in the car with George Floyd, 46, on the day of his death.
He has spoken publicly outside of Cup Foods in the months since the incident, consistently claiming that Floyd did not oppose arrest and that he himself was trying to spread the situation.
But in a surprise move, Hall, who is on the state’s witness list, filed a motion with the Hennepin County District Court late on Wednesday evening, announcing that he would plead the Fifth if asked by either side to witnesses.
Morries Hall, whose name was initially spelled Maurice, refuses to testify in court
Hall was in the passenger seat on May 25, 2020 when Floyd was arrested by Minnesota police
Hall, in a white t-shirt and red sweatpants, is seen getting into the passenger side of Floyd’s car
The legal document filed by Hennepin County Public Defender and seen by DailyMail.com reads: ‘Mr. Morries Lester Hall … hereby gives notice to all parties to this case that if called to testify, he will appeal to his privilege of the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. “
Hall, like Floyd, is a Houston native and the two men were linked together in Minneapolis through a pastor.
According to an interview with The New York Times, he and Floyd had been in touch every day since 2016, viewing the older man as a “ confidant and mentor. ”
In that same interview, Hall himself boasted, “I am a star witness to the murder of George Floyd by the police, and they want to know my side. Whatever I’ve been through, it’s all over now. It’s not about me. ‘
Hall and Floyd (pictured) were both from Houston, but met in Minneapolis through a pastor
But despite his claims, Hall was far from cooperative at the outset of the investigation into Floyd’s death.
He had outstanding warrants for possession of a firearm, domestic violence, and drug possession at the time of Floyd’s death.
He gave a false name at the time and then left town two days after Floyd died and hitchhiked to Houston, The New York Times reported.
Officers from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension attempted to contact Hall several times without success.
He was tracked down in Houston and arrested, where he spent a night in prison after questioning.
Chauvin is on trial on three counts: second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.
If convicted of the most severe sentence, he could face up to 40 years in prison. If convicted on the lowest charge, he can be out in as little as five years.
Prosecutors expect it to take between two and two and a half weeks to start their case against him and have so far defied countless, often emotional, witnesses in their attempt to see Chauvin convicted.
Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes
Chauvin is currently on trial for murder following Floyd’s death
Hall has not been named in the proceedings, although his photo alongside Floyd has been seen multiple times in surveillance footage and body camera video of officers being played in court.
He was sitting next to Floyd in the blue Mercedes SUV when the Cup Foods staff tried to return Floyd the cigarettes he had just bought with a fake $ 20 bill, or come back and pay for it with a real one.
He was next to Floyd when Officers Lane and Keung arrived on the scene. And he was next to him when Lane drew his gun and told him to get out of the car.
In numerous clips, Hall can be seen interacting with both cops on the sidewalk.
During a testimony on Wednesday, judges overheard Christopher Martin of Cup Foods explain that one reason he knew the $ 20 note Floyd was trying to pay was fake because of the blue pigment.
But he went on to say that his suspicions had also been aroused because the note was so similar to the note that Hall had tried to pass on as genuine earlier that same day and that the clerk refused to accept.
Not long after the May 25, 2020 incident, Hall said, “ I’m walking with Floyd. I know I will be his voice. ‘
But with Wednesday’s filing, Hall has made it very clear that it is not a voice that will be heard from the witness stand.
On the third day of Chauvin’s trial, prosecutors played long video clips of the body camera worn by one of the rookie police officers who first visited Cup Foods, Thomas Lane.
Lane approached Floyd, sitting in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes SUV outside Cup Foods, and immediately drew his weapon.
Floyd was agitated, crying, and seemingly terrified from the start.
Earlier, the judge temporarily halted proceedings after a 61-year-old witness burst into tears as he recounted his memory of Floyd’s arrest.
The witness, Charles McMillian, was one of many who spoke through tears on the witness stand.
Jurors also heard on Wednesday from Christopher Martin, the 19-year-old Cup Foods employee who first confronted Floyd about the seemingly bogus $ 20 bill he used to buy cigarettes.