The legal team for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd last month, has filed a motion in a Minneapolis court requesting a new trial on multiple grounds, including jury misconduct.
In the filing, Chauvin’s attorney says the former officer should have a new trial in the “interests of justice; abuse of discretion that deprived the Defendant of a fair trial; prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.”
“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,” attorney Eric Nelson writes in the filing.
Nelson also claims that the court failed to sequester the jury during the trial, which resulted in their exposure “to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings, as well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors.”
Floyd’s killing in May 2020, captured on cellphone video that later went viral, sparked protests nationwide. Chauvin could be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes during an arrest after he allegedly passed a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.
John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, said in a statement to ABC News, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
Chauvin was found guilty April 20 of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25 and faces up to 40 years in prison, though Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggest he’s more likely to receive up to 15 years due to his lack of a prior criminal record.
Ellison has asked Judge Peter Cahill to hand down a severe sentence to Chauvin for acting with “particular cruelty” in the death of Floyd, according to a legal briefing filed Friday.
Nelson opposed a harsher sentence in a separate filing Friday, arguing that Chauvin was authorized under Minnesota law to “use reasonable force” in the encounter.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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