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The defense attorney for Derek Chauvin filed a motion for a new trial Tuesday, a move that comes after the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd.
Attorney Eric Nelson called for a new trial in the court filing on several grounds, including an accusation that the court violated Chauvin’s right to due process and fair trial when the court decided against sequestering the jury and granting a venue change. From the filing:
The Court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings, as well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors, which violated Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and to a fair trial.
Although Nelson did not give specific details in the filing, Judge Peter Cahill previously said that Chauvin’s team may have grounds to overturn the trial on appeal in light of public remarks from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Nelson also argued that the court violated Chauvin’s rights by not ordering Morries Hall — the man in the car with Floyd before his death — to testify at the trial or to submit into evidence “his statements to law enforcement regarding his” interaction with Floyd. According to The New York Times, Hall invoked the Fifth Amendment during the trial after his lawyer argued that Hall’s testimony could expose him to drug-related charges.
Chauvin’s attorney, separately, also requested a hearing to throw out the court’s verdict “on the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations.”
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, through a spokesperson, told KARE-11: “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
The filing comes after a report emerged that stated Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year old juror who started speaking publicly to the media after the trial was over, wore a shirt that said “BLM” and “Get Your Knees Off Our Necks” last summer in Washington, D.C. The filing, however, did not mention Mitchell, so it’s unclear whether it even relates to him or not.
Mitchell told “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King last week that he didn’t feel pressured to come to a specific verdict, and didn’t suspect any of the other jurors did either. The juror, known as juror number 52 during the trial, also briefly detailed the deliberation process. As The Daily Wire previously reported:
Mitchell told King that, once the jurors entered the deliberation room, all but one of them believed that Chauvin was guilty on the manslaughter charge — the least severe of the three charges against him — in a preliminary vote. And after 40 minutes of discussion, going over court-provided legal definitions, and talking about the evidence, the hold-out juror was convinced that Chauvin was guilty of manslaughter as well.
After King asked Mitchell, “What was the one person unsure about Brandon,” Mitchell responded: “I think it was just the terminology. So within the instructions, you know, some of the terminology can be a little tricky because it’s legal jargon. Sometimes some of the words can be interpreted differently amongst people, so they wanted to do their due diligence and make sure that they were coming out with the right verdict that they believed in. So they were just hung up on a few words, and we kind of went through the definitions that were given to us and kinda broke it down from different perspectives to get everyone on the same page.”
Chauvin was found guilty earlier this month of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. His sentencing is currently scheduled for June.