Former police officer Derek Chauvin, convicted last month of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May, filed a motion for a new trial on Tuesday.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, argued that the court should have granted the defense’s motion to move the trial out of Hennepin County, given the strong local sentiments about the case.
Nelson also argued that Judge Peter A. Cahill erred when he denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial after public officials, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), made statements suggesting that there would be unrest unless the jury delivered a guilty verdict. The jury was not sequestered yet, Nelson pointed out.
Such statements, throughout the trial, “was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings,” Nelson argued.
He added that the judge erred by not sequestering the jury throughout the trial, or telling them avoid “all media.”
In addition, Nelson accused the State of Minnesota of prosecutorial misconduct “including but not limited to: disparaging the Defense; improper vouching; and failing to adequately prepare its witnesses.”
He alsosaid that the court should have compelled Morries Hall, the man suspected of selling drugs to Floyd, to testify.
Finally, Nelson said that the court made several other errors, including giving the jury faulty instructions, among others.
The motion did not mention recent revelations that juror Brandon Mitchell had participated in Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, DC, last summer. The Associated Press (AP) reported that a photo of Mitchell shows him “standing with two cousins and wearing a T-shirt with … the words, ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ and ‘BLM,’ for Black Lives Matter.”
Mitchell had reportedly claimed during jury selection that he had not attended Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the AP noted:
Mitchell said he answered “no” to two questions about demonstrations on the questionnaire sent out before jury selection.
The first question asked: “Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?” The second asked: “Other than what you have already described above, have you, or anyone close to you, participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality?”
He said he could be neutral at trial.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune cited a comment by John Stiles, spokesman for the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, in response to the motion: “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
Chauvin is still awaiting sentencing in the case on June 25. His bail was revoked and he is currently being held in prison.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.