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What it’s like to be a reporter in the courtroom during the Derek Chauvin murder trial

The Derek Chauvin murder trial is well underway, and CNN correspondent Sara Sidner said it is unlike any other that she’s covered as a journalist.

Last week, jurors heard testimony from bystanders who described the moment they witnessed Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck.

“This is the first time an entire trial from start to finish has been filmed,” Sidner, told CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday. She added that the entire courthouse and other nearby government buildings are surrounded by security apparatus, including fencing and barbed wire.

As for the courtroom itself, “Everyone is paying attention in a way that I haven’t seen before,” Sidner said. “There is pin drop silence. You can hear yourself breathe.”

One reason for the “extremely quiet” atmosphere is because attendants are socially distanced, which means the courtroom is not packed with people as it normally would be in a “trial of this magnitude,” Sidner said. There are two seats available for family members — one for the Floyd family and one for the Chauvin family.

“The George Floyd seat is always filled with a family member,” Sidner said. But, “We have yet to see anyone come for Derek Chauvin.”

And reporters outside of the United States are keeping an eye on the trial, too. Kethevane Gorjestani, a US correspondent for France24, recalled covering the jury selection in March, saying that there were “plenty of foreign reporters” there, including journalists from French, German, Spanish, British and Australian media outlets. “I think the interest really goes back to how striking it was to see the death of George Floyd and how much resonance it got throughout the world at the time,” she said.

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