Story at a glance

  • The lawyer for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in April of killing George Floyd, is requesting a new trial in a new city on the grounds that a highly public trial intimidated the jury.
  • “The court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings,” Nelson wrote.
  • Nelson further claims the court abused its authority when it did not compel Floyd’s friend, Morries Hall, who was in Floyd’s SUV at the time of the arrest, to testify.

The lawyer for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in April of murdering George Floyd, is requesting a new trial in a new city on the grounds that a highly public trial intimidated the jury.

Attorney Eric Nelson filed paperwork in Hennepin County Minnesota claiming his client could not receive a fair trial amid “pervasive” and “prejudicial” publicity.

“The court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings,” Nelson wrote. “As well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors.”

“Not only did such acts escalate the potential for prejudice in these proceedings, they may result in a far-reaching chilling effect on defendants’ ability to procure expert witnesses — especially in high-profile cases,” Nelson continued. 


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Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April. 

The first juror in the trial said last week that nothing outside the courtroom influenced the jury’s decision and that the evidence upon which the jury convicted Chauvin of murder was “overwhelming,” NBC reports. 

Nelson further claims the court abused its authority when it did not compel Floyd’s friend, Morries Hall, who was in Floyd’s SUV at the time of the arrest, to testify. Hall had stated he would invoke his fifth amendment protection should he be called to the stand. 

“The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights,” Nelson wrote.

The attorney’s claims did not include a recently revealed photo of one of the jurors attending a social justice demonstration in Washington, D.C., last year. Brandon Mitchell reportedly answered “no” to two questions asking if he or anyone close to him had participated in a demonstration against police brutality following Floyd’s death. 

“It was directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the '60s. ... The date of the March on Washington is the date. ... It was literally called the anniversary of the March on Washington,” Mitchell told the Star-Tribune.


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Published on May 05, 2021