Dershowitz: Maxine Waters used KKK tactics to intimidate Chauvin jury

Attorney Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzIf you care about the First Amendment, this class action is for you Sunday shows preview: Biden defends troop withdrawal in Afghanistan; COVID-19 impacting unvaccinated pockets Trump's Big Tech lawsuit: Freedom of speech vs. the First Amendment MORE compared statements made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) during the Derek Chauvin trial to tactics used by the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate jury pools in the 1920s and '30s. 

"Her message was clearly intended to get to the jury," Dershowitz said this week during an appearance on Newsmax. "'If you acquit or you find the charge anything less than murder, we will burn down your buildings, we will burn down your businesses, we will attack you.'" 

Waters told a group of protesters and journalists in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on Saturday that "we've got to get more confrontational" when advocating for police reforms, a remark partisan critics and conservatives pounced on, saying they interpreted it to be an endorsement of political violence. 


Waters responded to her critics on Monday, saying she is "nonviolent" and blasting Republicans for what she described as a quickness to "jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent." 

The Black congresswoman also said conservatives were trying to "send a message" to white supremacists with their criticism of her. 

But Dershowitz said Waters's remarks were "an attempt to intimidate the jury." 

"It's borrowed precisely from the Ku Klux Klan of the 1930s and 1920s when the Klan would march outside of courthouses and threaten all kinds of appraisals," he said.

A prominent attorney who represented former President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE during his first impeachment trial, Dershowitz suggested Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill should have granted a mistrial to the defense over Waters's comments.

"But the judge of course wouldn't grant a mistrial because then he'd be responsible for the riots that would ensue," Dershowitz said.


But Cahill did criticize Waters over the remarks.

"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 and our function," he said. "If they want to give their opinions, they should do so ... in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution." 

Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts, including second-degree murder, on Tuesday. He faces up to 75 years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence for all three counts.

After the verdict was announced, Waters expressed joy and optimism for the racial justice movement in America.

"Someone said it better than me: I’m not celebrating. I’m relieved," Waters told reporters after the verdict was read