Former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane have said they also will take the stand.
Kueng and Thao told US District Judge Paul Magnuson on Monday they planned to testify in their own defense.
Lane, the rookie officer who held down Floyd’s legs during the fatal restraint, told the judge Tuesday that he also planned to take the stand. His attorney Earl Gray had told Magnuson a day earlier he wanted to speak with Lane about it before giving a final decision.
The federal civil rights trial comes more than a year after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Thao’s testimony Tuesday began with him explaining his upbringing and decision to become a police officer. The son of Laotian immigrants, Thao said seeing police arrest his father after an abusive incident got him thinking about joining law enforcement.
The three have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and are being tried together. Chauvin admitted guilt in December as part of a plea deal.
All three former officers will face a state trial later this year on charges of aiding and abetting in Floyd’s murder.
Defense attorneys for the three former officers began presenting their case Tuesday. Prosecutors are expected to resume their cross examination of Thao on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Prosecution says Floyd could have survived
Prosecutors called more than 20 witnesses over the course of the 13 days of testimony. The prosecution prompted both high-ranking Minneapolis police officers and expert witnesses to testify that defendants had a duty to intervene and render first aid, under department policies.
Multiple witness also testified the three ex-officers made no attempt to get Chauvin off Floyd’s neck, or render medical care. Several medical experts testified this was “a survivable” event and that CPR would have saved Floyd’s life.
Many of the witnesses called by prosecutors also testified last year at Chauvin’s state trial, where he was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Testimony stalled for three days earlier this month after a defendant tested positive for Covid-19. A juror was also dismissed after disclosing that his son was dealing with a serious mental health issue.
The male juror was replaced by an alternate male juror, according to a pool reporter in court. The 12-juror panel still comprises five men and seven women. There are now five alternates: two men and three women.
CNN’s Eric Levenson and Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.