Before the jury was brought into the court on Tuesday, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill heard arguments on a request by a friend of Floyd to quash a subpoena by prosecutors for him to testify.
The friend, Morries Hall, was in the car with Floyd when police arrived, setting the stage for the attempt to arrest Floyd. Hall has said that he would invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if he had to appear in the witness stand.
Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, told Cahill he planned to ask Hall whether he gave Floyd any controlled substances and why Hall left Minnesota immediately after the incident.
Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified last week that she and Floyd struggled with opioid addiction, and that she thought Hall sometimes illegally sold pills to Floyd.
Cahill decided that most questions Nelson wanted to ask could incriminate Hall. Even so, the judge said Hall should be able to testify on Floyd's condition in the car and whether he fell asleep suddenly after possibly taking opioid pills.
"I don't see how that would put him closer to criminal liability, just from those observations," Cahill said, giving Nelson until Thursday to draft potential questions.
The New York Times reports Hall is currently in jail on unrelated charges.
PETER CAHILL: And unfortunately, you don't have the benefit of having sat through all the testimony, but it appears that this would be a proper invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights for just about everything Mr. Nelson was talking about. The one exception appears to be his observations sitting in the passenger seat of the car as how Mr. Floyd appeared, that he was falling asleep and that it happened suddenly. Would you agree that that's not incriminating, if we keep all the mention of drugs or why or anything like that?
- No, Your Honor, I do not agree that that--
PETER CAHILL: How would that-- when it did not incriminate the clerk who said he thought he was high, how would it be that Mr. Hall saying that would incriminate him?
- The whole point here is to prevent Mr. Hall from incriminating himself. And him even answering that question that he was in the car puts him in very close proximity with Mr. Floyd and very close in time before he's alleged to have ingested drugs. And again, it exposes him on that third-degree murder charge.
If there were to be a future third-degree murder charge, and Mr. Hall was charged with basically being involved in this drug activity that had caused Mr. Floyd to pass away due to an overdose, him even being in that car incriminates him in terms of behaviors of Mr. Floyd, what he observed, when he observed it. So no, Your Honor, I would argue that it definitely would expose him to potential incrimination.