REP Maxine Waters has claimed "her words don't matter" after the judge presiding over the Derek Chauvin trial blasted her for telling protesters to "get more confrontational" if the cop is acquitted of killing George Floyd.
The California Democratic congresswoman told rioters to "stay on the streets" and was slammed by Judge Peter Cahill for what he described as an "abhorrent" intervention.
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He told the court in Minneapolis that Waters' comments at a rally in the city on Saturday could even see a guilty verdict appealed and overturned - after ex-cop Chauvin's attorney argued the jury has been unduly influenced.
Waters has been widely criticized after telling protesters to "stay on the street and get more active, more confrontational" if Chauvin is not found guilty during a riot in Minnesota following the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright.
Despite this, Waters has doubled down on her words and claimed remarks "don't matter" so therefore she need not apologize.
"The judge says my words don't matter," the 82-year-old said, reports CNN.
Waters claims she made the comments in the context of civil disobedience as a whole, saying protests are a symbolic and useful tool in achieving rights both then and now, adding "the whole civil rights movement is confrontation."
But on Monday Judge Cahill slammed Waters.
"I'm aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction and talk of being confrontational," he said.
"This goes back to what I've been saying in the beginning, I wish 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 in our function," he continued.
"Now that we have US representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this trial it’s frankly mind-blowing," Nelson said.
"I'll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result on this whole trial being overturned," Cahill responded to Nelson.
Speaking about elected officials in general, he said they should stay mum, adding "their failure to do so is abhorrent, but I don't think it has prejudiced us with additional information that would prejudice the jury."
"I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the constitution, to respect a co-equal branch of government."
Cahill had told the jury to avoid the news and all media regarding the trial, saying in all, he trusts jurors to follow his instructions and avoid all prejudice, but added at the end of the day, "a congresswoman's opinion really doesn't matter a whole lot."
"This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence," the House Minority Speaker tweeted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has since said Waters does not need to apologize for her remarks, saying she did not incite violence, and instead likened what's being called of Waters to what needed to be called of Trump during the January 6 insurrection.
Pelosi's sentiment was echoed by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who said Waters "never meant violence...she's never advocated violence. She, she is passionate -- she believes in her issues."
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Waters made the comments while attending a protest in Minneapolis following the police-shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and the release of bodycam footage of the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.
Waters told the crowd of protesters in Minneapolis to continue fighting on the streets because it shows their cause is serious.