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George Floyd 'not on trial here' says prosecutor in closing argument of Chauvin trial

An attorney prosecuting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sought to make something clear as he delivered his closing argument: "George Floyd is not on trial here."

“We need to be clear: This is not the trial of George Floyd. George Floyd is not on trial here,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said. “You've heard some things about George Floyd, that he struggled with drug addiction, that he was being investigated for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill that there was never any evidence introduced that he knew was fake in the first place. Right, but, but he is not on trial. He didn't get a trial when he was alive, and he is not on trial here.”

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death in May. He is accused of causing Floyd's death by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes.

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Throughout the trial, Chauvin's defense attorneys have sought blame a number of other factors for Floyd's death, including heart issues and carbon monoxide poisoning. The defense also repeatedly brought up Floyd's previous drug use, painted Chauvin's actions as a reasonable response to what his attorney called Floyd's noncompliance and portrayed the surrounding crowd as agitated and threatening.

Schleicher told the jury none of those factors contributed more to Floyd's death than Chauvin's actions.

During his closing arguments Schleicher accused Chauvin and "abandoning his values."

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"The defendant, he chose pride over policing," Schleicher said.

Schleicher recalled the emotional testimony of Charles McMillian, 61, who said he told Floyd "you can't win" in his confrontation with Chauvin.

"And George Floyd replied, 'I'm not trying to win. I'm not trying to win, I'm scared.' But [Chauvin] was trying to win. He wasn't going to be told what to do. He wasn't going to take a challenge to his authority. He was trying to win and George Floyd paid for it with his life," Schleicher said.