Morries Hall, who was in the car with George Floyd when police first confronted them last May, appeared in front of a judge via Zoom on Tuesday to discuss his intention to plead the Fifth if he is called to testify.
Both the prosecution and defense have called Hall as a witness in the trial.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson said he planned to ask Hall about his interactions with Floyd that day, their suspected use of a counterfeit bill, whether he gave Floyd drugs and his statements to police about Floyd’s behavior in the vehicle.
Hall’s attorney, Adrienne Cousins, argued that he planned to use the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination, and she asked Judge Peter Cahill to quash his subpoena to testify. Cousins said she was concerned Hall’s testimony could be used in a drug or third-degree murder charge against him.
“This leaves Mr. Hall potentially incriminating himself into a future prosecution for third-degree murder,” Cousins told Cahill, noting the murder statute allows for prosecution of someone who provided drugs leading to an overdose.
Judge Cahill said that any questions about potential wrongdoing would not be allowed, yet he said he would be open to allowing specific questions about Floyd’s behavior in the vehicle that day.
He asked the defense attorney to draft specific questions on that point, which will be passed to Hall and his attorneys and discussed in a future hearing.
Hall’s testimony could be key for the defense, who has argued that Floyd’s cause of death was a mix of drug use and preexisting health issues.
Remember: Hall is currently in custody on unrelated charges of domestic abuse, domestic assault by strangulation and the violation of a protective order.