Chauvin defense attorney claims Floyd said 'I ate too many drugs' in arrest audio

Derek Chauvin defense attorney Eric Nelson on Wednesday suggested in court that George Floyd could be heard saying he “ate too many drugs” in audio recorded during his arrest last year.

Nelson made the claim while he was questioning Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert brought in by prosecution, during cross-examination.

“I’d like you to see if you could tell me what Mr. Floyd says in this instance,” Nelson said before playing a clip from body camera footage captured of Chauvin restraining Floyd during the May 2020 arrest that preceded his death.

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It is difficult to discern what is said in the clip.

“Did you hear what he said?” Nelson then asked Stiger. 

“No, I couldn’t make it out,” Stiger responded.

“Does it sound like he says, ‘I ate too many drugs,’ ” Nelson asked before again playing the footage. “Listen again.”

Stiger again stated that he could not “make that out.”

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The prosecution did not object to the line of questioning, something that CNN legal analyst Laura Coates said that they should have done immediately.

“Did you hear me from where I am, standing up and pounding on the table to say objection? Because it’s exactly what the prosecution should have done in that moment,” she told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

“The idea that you’re going to introduce testimony through the actual attorneys is not what you’re entitled to do,” Coates said.

At a later point during the trial on Wednesday, Nelson presented the same question to James Reyerson, who serves as a senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, after he was called to the stand.

At first, Reyerson, who said he reviewed bodycam footage of Floyd’s arrest to understand what various parties said at the time, denied ever hearing Floyd say those words in the footage he reviewed.

But after Nelson played the same audio from before and reiterated the words, Reyerson said he agreed that Floyd appeared to have said the words.

However, later during Reyerson's testimony, he said he thought Floyd said something else after the prosecution also played a longer clip of the moment for him to provide more context.

“Having heard it in context, were you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?” one prosecutor asked Reyerson.

“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying ‘I ain’t do no drugs,’ ” Reyerson said.

The questioning from Nelson came as Chauvin’s defense team has focused on Floyd’s past drug use during the trial.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Stiger said he believed Chauvin used "deadly force" on Floyd.

Wednesday marks the eighth day of the trial. The former officer, who drew nationwide scrutiny last year when he was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest that led to his death, currently faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The Hennepin County medical examiner in Minnesota ruled the death a homicide.

Floyd's drug use and alleged opioid addiction have been in the spotlight throughout the trial. Trace amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine were discovered in his body following his death.

Neither was listed as his cause of death.

Updated at 4:05 p.m.