US President Joe Biden has said he is “praying the verdict is the right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and that he believed the case to be “overwhelming”.
Mr Biden, ahead of a meeting with legislators in the Oval Office, told reporters that he was only weighing in on the trial over the death of George Floyd, who died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, because the jury in the case had been sequestered.
He confirmed that he called Mr Floyd’s family on Monday and said he “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling”.
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquillity no matter what that verdict is,” Mr Biden said.
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. It’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
The president has repeatedly denounced Mr Floyd’s death but had previously stopped short of weighing in on the trial itself.
His comments came as his administration has been privately weighing how to handle the upcoming verdict, including considering whether Mr Biden should address the nation and dispatching specially trained community facilitators from the Justice Department, aides and officials told the Associated Press.
The jury resumed deliberations on Tuesday morning after spending a few hours on Monday discussing the case behind closed doors.
In closing arguments earlier in the day, a prosecutor told jurors that Chauvin “had to know” he was squeezing the life out of Mr Floyd as he cried over and over that he could not breathe and finally fell silent.
Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges.
Mr Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told NBC’s Today show that Mr Biden “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”.