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Alternate Chauvin juror: Defense lawyer 'didn't live up to what he said he was going to do'

A woman who was an alternate juror for the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin said his defense failed to back up its claims. Chauvin was found guilty on murder and manslaughter charges for the killing of George Floyd.

The alternate juror, Lisa Christensen, told CBS News in an interview on Thursday that she thinks the former officer’s legal team “didn't live up to what he said he was going to do.”

Though she was not involved in the final deliberations of the jury, Christensen attended the full proceedings.

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“I was worried about, you know, whatever the verdict may be if some people felt strongly on one side, other people felt strongly on the other side. So no matter what, I felt like somebody wasn't going to be happy,” she said.

Christensen said she “felt” that Chauvin had been guilty ahead of the verdict.

“I felt he was guilty. They read the jury instructions to us in the courtroom briefly, but I didn't know it was going to be guilty on all counts, but I would have said guilty,” she said.

Christensen said she thought the prosecution “made a really good, strong argument” during the trial as it sought to make the case that Chauvin caused the death of Floyd through his use of force during a May 25 arrest last year. Floyd's death led to nationwide protests for racial justice.

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“Dr. Tobin was the one that really did it for me. He explained everything. I understood it down to where he said this is the moment that he lost his life, really got to me,” she said, referring to the testimony of pulmonologist Martin Tobin, an expert witness brought in by the prosecution. 

During his testimony, pool reporters noted that jurors appeared to pay close attention to Tobin throughout his remarks. Tobin said when he first took the stand that he has testified as an expert on dozens of cases, primarily those involving medical malpractice.

When asked about the defense’s handling of the case, however, Christensen said she didn’t “think they had a good impact.”

“I think he overpromised in the beginning and didn't live up to what he said he was going to do,” she told the network.

Throughout the trial, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, focused on Floyd’s drug use and underlying health conditions as factors that contributed to his death. He also argued that Chauvin’s restraint tactics during the arrest were justified.

Christensen said she felt “uncomfortable” during the trial and made eye contact with the former officer more than once.

“I felt like he was the leader, and the other officers were following his lead. I kind of felt like he wasn't taking the warnings seriously, obviously, kind of like 'I know what I'm doing,'” she said of the arrest footage played during the trial.

During the trial, the prosecution heavily relied on footage of the arrest, particularly when Chauvin was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes, and testimony from eyewitnesses and medical experts. 

However, the defense also played footage of the arrest often during arguments as it sought to make its own case, a tactic that was seen as a risk by some during the trial. 

Christensen told CBS News she’s happy the jury decided to convict Chauvin on all charges. 

“I just don't understand how it got from a counterfeit 20 dollar bill to a death. It kind of shocks me,” Christensen said.