President Joe Biden is “praying the verdict is the right verdict” in the trial of the police officer accused of murdering George Floyd.
As the jury on Tuesday met for a second day of deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin, Mr Biden confirmed he had spoken to Mr Floyd‘s family.
“I’ve come to know George’s family,” the US president said.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling. And so I waited until the jury was sequestered and I called.”
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Mr Biden said he would not have mentioned the phone call publicly if a family member had not already made it public.
“They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is,” he added.
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is – I think it’s overwhelming in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
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Mr Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, had revealed that Mr Biden called his family on Monday.
He told NBC’s Today show that the president “knows how it is to lose a family member… so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us and hoping that everything would come out to be OK”.
Chauvin, a 45-year-old former Minneapolis police officer, was charged with murder and manslaughter after kneeling on the neck of a dying Mr Floyd during an arrest last May.
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The death sparked protests across America and the rest of the world and added fresh impetus to the “Black Lives Matter” campaign.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Mr Biden’s comments came a day after Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the trial, admonished elected officials for speaking out about the case.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that’s disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” he said shortly after sending the jury to begin deliberations.