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Derek Chauvin expected to change plea in federal civil rights case in murder of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin and three other former officers had pleaded "not guilty" to the federal charges, which allege they violated George Floyd's civil rights.

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's note: The video above first aired in September 2021.

A statement released by Minnesota's federal district court Monday says a change of plea hearing will be held Wednesday morning in the case of U.S. v Chauvin et al.

The official court docket entry states, "NOTICE OF SETTING CHANGE OF PLEA as to Derek Michael Chauvin. A Change of Plea Hearing is set for Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 9:00 a.m."

Sources confirmed to KARE 11's Lou Raguse Monday evening that Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer previously convicted in state court on criminal charges stemming from the 2020 murder of George Floyd, will be the only former officer to appear at Wednesday's hearing.

Chauvin had previously pleaded "not guilty" to the federal charges, which allege he and three other former Minneapolis police officers violated Floyd's civil rights.

Legal expert Michael Bryant of Bradshaw & Bryant, who is not affiliated with the case, said he expects a potential plea deal to involve a number of different stipulations for Chauvin. 

"It's more likely that it's going to be the same amount of time," Bryant said, "and it's going to be served in a federal prison."

With the other three former officers still expected to stand federal trial in January 2022, Bryant said a plea deal could force Chauvin to testify against them. 

"It changes the perspective of the case," Bryant said of Chauvin's potential plea deal, if he does indeed change his plea Wednesday. "You'll take out what would be a potential major defendant and they'll be standing alone based on upon their charges." 

Two of the former officers, Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng, are charged with violating Floyd's right to be free from reasonable seizure and for not intervening or stopping Chauvin when he knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. 

All four of the former officers are charged for their failure to provide medical care for George Floyd on May 25, 2020.  

Attorneys for Kueng and Thao said in court filings back in August that their clients would be unfairly prejudiced if they went to trial alongside Chauvin, requesting that they each received different trials. An attorney for Thomas Lane later filed a motion asking to join in his co-defendants' request.

However, in November, a judge denied the request by the three officers to be tried independently of Chauvin.

Chauvin also faces a second federal indictment stemming from his use of force and the neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

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