What You Need To Know:
The defense attorney in the Derek Chauvin murder trial has requested a new trial. The White former Minneapolis police officer was convicted on three charges in the death of George Floyd. The call for a new trial was made exactly two weeks after Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the African American man said he couldn’t breathe and lost consciousness.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson cited ten reasons in calling for a new trial. Among the reasons, he said Judge Peter Cahill abused the discretion of the court and violated Chauvin’s right to due process and a fair trial when he denied Nelson’s request to move the trial to another county due to pretrial publicity.
The request also pointed to “publicity during the proceedings that threaten[ed] the fairness of the trial.” Nelson said that publicity included “intimidation” of the defense expert witness, which he said could have a “chilling effect” on the ability of defendants to get expert witnesses in high-profile cases, including the upcoming cases of the three former officers charged in Floyd’s death.
The defense attorney also charged that prosecutors “committed pervasive, prejudicial” misconduct.
Another issue that has moved to the forefront is that of possible juror misconduct. Although 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., it is now a part of the discussion.
The African American juror, Brandon Mitchell, has defended his actions, saying the event was to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington and was not a protest over Floyd’s death. Floyd siblings, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who had been shot by police addressed the crowd at the march last summer.
A picture of Mitchell and two of his cousins posted on social media shows him wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and hat.
During the jury selection process, Mitchell stated he hadn’t attended any Black Lives Matter or anti-police brutality protests.
Mr. Mitchell said in interviews this week that he answered the questions truthfully. He said the Washington, D.C. march was a commemoration of the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march and his “I Have a Dream” speech — not a Black Lives Matter protest.