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story.lead_photo.caption This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, shows Derek Chauvin, from left, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by him and the other Minneapolis police officers on May 25. Kueng, Lane and Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he's likely to move the trials of four former police officers charged in George Floyd's death out of Minneapolis if public officials, attorneys and family members don't stop speaking out about the case.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order against attorneys on both sides, but he said he likely will if public statements continue that make it hard to find an impartial jury. Cahill said that would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed, as he anticipates.

"The court is not going to be happy about hearing comments on these three areas: merits, evidence and guilt or innocence," Cahill said.

It was the second pretrial hearing for the officers, who were fired after Floyd's May 25 death. Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and other counts, while Thomas Lane, 37, J. Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin.

Floyd died after Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee against the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man's neck for nearly nine minutes. The officers were responding to a call about a man trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby store. Floyd's death sparked protests around the world.

Thao's attorney, Robert Paule, cited remarks from a variety of public officials saying they thought the officers were guilty, including President Donald Trump, Attorney General Keith Ellison and Mayor Jacob Frey.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has called Floyd's death "murder" and said Chauvin knew what he was doing because of his training. Gov. Tim Walz and Frey have also called it murder.

Cahill asked state Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank to use his influence to keep public officials silent, warning that if they continue to discuss it publicly, he likely would "have to pull [the trials] out of Hennepin County and they need to be aware of that." But he also made it clear that he wants defense attorneys and Floyd family members to stay out of the press, too.

Cahill set a March 8 trial date for the former officers if they are tried together, though he said he expects motions to be filed to separate their trials. The next court date is Sept. 11.

The defendants have not entered pleas. Chauvin's attorney has not commented publicly on the charges, while Lane's and Kueng's attorneys have sought to minimize their clients' roles and deflect blame to the more senior Chauvin in Floyd's death. Kueng's attorney said in a court filing Monday that he intends to plead innocent and that he will argue it was self-defense, a reasonable use of force and an authorized use of force.

Chauvin remains in custody on $1 million bail and Thao is being held on $750,000 bail. Lane and Kueng are free on bond.

Information for this article was contributed by Mohamed Ibrahim of The Associated Press.

Earl Gray, attorney for former police officer Thomas Lane, leaves court Monday, June 29, 2020 following the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Earl Gray, attorney for former police officer Thomas Lane, leaves court Monday, June 29, 2020 following the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
George Floyd's uncle, Selwyn Jones, center, and his aunt, Angela Harrelson, to his right, address the media Monday, June 29, 2020 after the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
George Floyd's uncle, Selwyn Jones, center, and his aunt, Angela Harrelson, to his right, address the media Monday, June 29, 2020 after the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Former police officer J. Alexander Kueng, right, follows his attorney, Thomas Plunkett, as he arrives Monday, June 29, 2020 for the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Former police officer J. Alexander Kueng, right, follows his attorney, Thomas Plunkett, as he arrives Monday, June 29, 2020 for the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
In this courtroom sketch, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin appears in on closed-circuit television from a maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., Monday, June 29, 2020, during a hearing before Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill in Minneapolis. Prosecutor Matthew Frank, second from right, and defense attorney Eric Nelson, right, face the judge. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and other counts in the death of George Floyd, while former police officers Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. (Cedric Hohnstadt via AP)
In this courtroom sketch, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin appears in on closed-circuit television from a maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., Monday, June 29, 2020, during a hearing before Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill in Minneapolis. Prosecutor Matthew Frank, second from right, and defense attorney Eric Nelson, right, face the judge. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and other counts in the death of George Floyd, while former police officers Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. (Cedric Hohnstadt via AP)
George Floyd's uncle, Selwyn Jones, right, and his aunt, Angela Harrelson, center, address the media Monday, June 29, 2020 after the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
George Floyd's uncle, Selwyn Jones, right, and his aunt, Angela Harrelson, center, address the media Monday, June 29, 2020 after the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Former police officer Thomas Lane, left, leaves court Monday, June 29, 2020, following the second court appearance in Minneapolis of four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after a video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Former police officer Thomas Lane, left, leaves court Monday, June 29, 2020, following the second court appearance in Minneapolis of four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after a video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Prosecutor Matthew Frank arrives Monday, June 29, 2020, for the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after a video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Prosecutor Matthew Frank arrives Monday, June 29, 2020, for the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after a video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Former police officer Thomas Lane, left, follows his attorney, Earl Gray as he left court Monday, June 29, 2020 following the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Former police officer Thomas Lane, left, follows his attorney, Earl Gray as he left court Monday, June 29, 2020 following the second court appearance in Minneapolis for four former Minneapolis police officers facing charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting murder in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody after video shared online by a bystander showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
George Floyd's aunt Angela Harrelson of Minneapolis, left, and his uncle Selwyn Jones of Gettysburg, South Dakota speak to members of the media outside of the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility Monday morning, June 29, 2020 in Minneapolis. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
George Floyd's aunt Angela Harrelson of Minneapolis, left, and his uncle Selwyn Jones of Gettysburg, South Dakota speak to members of the media outside of the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility Monday morning, June 29, 2020 in Minneapolis. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
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