Derek Chauvin’s Defense Attorney Outlines Basis of Retrial Request

Derek Chauvin (Court TV via Associated Press, Pool)
Court TV via Associated Press, Pool

Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney requested a new trial Tuesday in the matter of the death of George Floyd, citing numerous grounds including “jury misconduct” and “intimidation” as part of the motion filed in Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s legal counsel, argued juror misconduct and pretrial publicity in part led to the former Minneapolis police officer’s conviction for second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death last year.

Nelson said he is requesting a retrial in the interests of justice. He argued there were abuses of discretion that deprived Chauvin of a fair trial, prosecutorial and jury misconduct and the verdict was contrary to law.

Chauvin’s legal team pointed directly to the court’s rejection of its request to change the hearing’s venue as a key part of its retrial call.

Nelson claimed in the filing Judge Peter Cahill abused the discretion of the court and violated Chauvin’s right to due process and a fair trial when he denied his request to move the trial to another county.

“The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings,” Nelson wrote in court documents as submitted.

“The jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial,” Nelson concluded.

The defense attorney asked the judge to impeach the verdict on the grounds the jury committed misconduct, felt pressured, and/or failed to adhere to jury instructions.

To impeach a verdict is to question its validity.

The brief did not mention recent reports that one of the jurors participated in an Aug. 28 march in Washington, D.C., to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chauvin will be sentenced next month under the most serious crime of second-degree murder which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

The Hill reports John Stiles, the deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, pushed back on Nelson’s filing, saying in a statement to ABC News “the court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”

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