Biden nominates Derek Chauvin prosecutor as federal judge
President Biden nominated one of the attorneys who prosecuted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd as a federal judge on Wednesday.
Biden nominated Jerry Blackwell to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The White House did not mention Blackwell’s role in the Chauvin case in the announcement of the nomination.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) appointed Blackwell to serve as a special assistant attorney general during the trial, which resulted in Chauvin’s conviction for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Chauvin is currently serving a 22.5 year prison sentence. He appealed the conviction in April.
Blackwell spoke during the prosecution’s opening and closing statements of Chauvin’s trial, arguing that the former officer “betrayed” his badge.
During the prosecution’s final closing statement, Blackwell contested the argument that Floyd died due to an enlarged heart.
“You were told, for example, Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big,” Blackwell told the jury. “You heard that testimony. And now having seen all the evidence and having heard all the evidence, you know the truth. And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”
Blackwell is a founding partner of law firm Blackwell Burke. He received law and bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D) and Tina Smith (D) applauded Blackwell’s nomination in a joint statement, saying he was unanimously supported by a judicial selection committee they convened to make recommendations.
“With more than three decades of legal experience, Jerry Blackwell is exceptionally well-qualified to be a U.S. District Court Judge,” said Smith. “I am confident that his experience and commitment to equal justice will make him an excellent federal judge.”
Klobuchar echoed similar sentiments.
“His extensive trial experience – including the successful prosecution of the murder of George Floyd – makes him an excellent choice to be a U.S. District Court Judge,” Klobuchar said. “As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to confirm him.”