Though former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last month of all charges against him for his role in the death of George Floyd in police custody nearly a year ago, it seems legal proceedings for the 45-year-old ex-cop are far from over.
Breitbart reports that Chauvin and his defense attorney, Eric Nelson, are now seeking a new trial on the grounds that members of the jury were engaged in alleged misconduct, among other things.
Chauvin was ultimately found guilty of second and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, for his role in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Chauvin fights conviction
Reports indicate that Nelson filed a motion for retrial with the Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota on Tuesday.
In his motion, the defense attorney cited several alleged improprieties with his client’s original trial, including, as Breitbart reported, that “there were abuses of discretion that deprived Chauvin of a fair trial,” that there was “prosecutorial and jury misconduct,” and that “the verdict was contrary to law.”
Nelson specifically argued that it was wrong for the court to have rejected his earlier request for a change in venue for the trial. “The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings,” he wrote of the Minneapolis area, according to Breitbart.
Prosecution fights back
Nelson also argued that jurors’ impartiality was jeopardized by external pressures, saying “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.”
Accordingly, Nelson has asked for the court to impeach — or question the validity of — Chauvin’s guilty verdict, and to give him a new trial, the Associated Press reports.
The prosecution, for its part, has put out a statement in response to Nelson’s motion saying that “the court has already rejected many of these arguments” and vowing to “vigorously oppose them,” according to ABC News.
“Disrespectful to the rule of law”
The move from Nelson comes as little surprise to followers of the case, who may recall the public outcry that came after one Democrat congresswoman urged protesters in the days before the jury began deliberations to “stay on the street” and get “confrontational” if Chauvin was acquitted.
The remarks, from California Rep. Maxine Waters (D), even prompted a rebuke from the judge in the trial. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that’s disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” Judge Peter Cahill said, according to Reuters.
Chauvin is currently set to be sentenced in June.