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Biden Says He Is Praying For 'The Right Verdict' In Floyd Case

President Biden appears in the Oval Office on Tuesday, where in brief remarks to the press he said he was praying that the verdict in the George Floyd case "is the right verdict."
Evan Vucci
President Biden appears in the Oval Office on Tuesday, where in brief remarks to the press he said he was praying that the verdict in the George Floyd case "is the right verdict."

Updated April 20, 2021 at 2:17 PM ET

President Biden, speaking as the jury in Derek Chauvin's murder trial is sequestered in its second day of deliberations, said Tuesday that he is "praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think it's overwhelming in my view."

Biden told reporters in the Oval Office that he has reached out to family members of George Floyd as they, and the nation, await the outcome of the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing Floyd.

The president said he can "only imagine the pressure and anxiety" the Floyd family is feeling and that he "wanted to see how they are doing."

He added that he wasn't going to say anything about the conversation, but Floyd's brother commented about it publicly Tuesday.

"He was just calling," Floyd's younger brother, Philonise, told NBC's Today show. "He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we're going through. So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, and hoping that everything will come out to be OK."

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death.

At Tuesday's White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki was called on to explain Biden's remarks about the trial. Psaki said the president "certainly is not looking to influence" the verdict, "but he has been touched by the impact on the family."

She said the president "was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family, what a difficult time this is, what a difficult time this is for many Americans across the country who have been watching this trial very closely."

The jury in Chauvin's trial began deliberating Monday after hearing 13 days of testimony in the case. As NPR's Juana Summers has reported, the trial presents what could be the first major flashpoint over race and policing in Biden's presidency.

Biden said he was only weighing in on the case because the jury was sequestered. But his remarks came a day after Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson asked for a mistrial after comments over the weekend by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who said protesters should get "more confrontational" if Chauvin is not convicted. Waters later told CNN her remarks about confrontation were meant in the context of the nonviolent history of the civil rights movement, saying, "The whole civil rights movement is confrontation."

Judge Peter Cahill turned down the motion, but said that Waters' remarks could help Chauvin win an appeal.

"I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case," Cahill admonished, "especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function."

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NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.

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