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Maxine Waters: Judge in Chauvin trial who criticized her was 'angry'

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Tulsa marks race massacre centennial as US grapples with racial injustice Fauci may have unwittingly made himself a key witness for Trump in 'China Flu' hate-speech case MORE (D-Calif.) responded to criticism leveled against her by the judge that presided over the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, saying the judge was “way off track” with some of his comments.

“I think he was angry. I think he may be frustrated with this case and how much world publicity is on it and all of that,” Waters said during an appearance on CNN on Saturday in reference to critical remarks made by Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill.

Last week, Cahill knocked Waters for comments she made regarding the trial the weekend before the verdict during a visit to Brooklyn Center, Minn., the suburb in Minneapolis where 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who is Black, was fatally shot by a white police officer during a traffic stop. 

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Wright’s death sparked nights of protests against police brutality and racial injustice in different parts of the country and added fuel to a nationwide discussion around police treatment of Black Americans as the nation awaited a verdict in Chauvin's trial.

Chauvin, who is white, was recorded kneeling of George Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes during an arrest last year that preceded his death. Floyd’s killing reignited the Black Lives Matter movement last summer and served as a catalyst for months of protests across the country. 

Waters told protesters at a local demonstration that if the former officer was not guilty, she would “fight with all of the people who stand for justice.” 

“We’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue,” she said.

“We've got to stay on the street, and we've got to get more active. We've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” Waters also said then. 

The comments by Waters prompted criticism from conservatives and were later cited by Chauvin defense attorney Eric Nelson, who argued in court that the congresswoman's comments could have prejudiced the jury as he sought a mistrial. 

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Though Cahill later rejected Nelson’s motion for a mistrial, he criticized Waters’ comments, saying he wished “elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function.”

“If they want to give their opinions, they should do so ... in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution,” Cahill continued. 

In her comments on Saturday, Waters pushed back at the judge’s remarks.

“I talked with a lot of legal scholars and lawyers and of course he was way off track. He knows that in fact, the jurors were not in the room. The jurors had an oath not to look at television, not to read the newspapers, not to engage with people on this,” she told CNN.

“So he knows that there was no interference with the jurors,” she continued.

“[T]o say that I'm going to cause an appeal really is not credible. And whether or not they have an appeal, even if they mention my name, like the judge says, my comments don't matter anyway,” she added.