After a jury found former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on charges of second and third degree murder, along with manslaughter for killing George Floyd, his attorney has made a motion requesting a hearing to argue that Chauvin’s conviction to be vacated, and a new trial granted.
In a motion filed Tuesday, attorney Eric Nelson argued that Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill’s failure to order the jury to be sequestered, and failure to allow the trial to be moved out of Minneapolis, along with the sheer amount of media coverage of the trial, amounts to a violation of Chauvin’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
The motion says that the court “abused its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motion for a change of venue,” and that it “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.”
In the first interview after the trial, Lisa Christensen, who was an alternate juror in the trial, admitted that she was afraid of the violent mob that had been rioting in Minneapolis over Floyd’s death.
“I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict,” she said.
Christensen also admitted to hearing the news about the city of Minneapolis’ $27 million civil settlement with the Floyd family, which was made public during the jury selection phase of the trial.
Nelson is also alleging jury misconduct.
One juror, Brandon Mitchell, failed to disclose during jury selection that he attended an August Black Lives Matter rally hosted by Al Sharpton in Washington, D.C.
There, he was photographed wearing a shirt that said “GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS,” a reference to Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd during Floyd’s arrest, and “BLM.”
Every juror in the case had seen at least some or all of the viral video of Floyd’s arrest before the trial.
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