Will Derek Chauvin get a new trial? Disgraced cop files motion in George Floyd case claiming 'jury misconduct'

Chauvin's lawyer has asked for the jury verdict to be thrown out, alleging the court denied him a fair trial 'in violation of his constitutional rights'


                            Will Derek Chauvin get a new trial? Disgraced cop files motion in George Floyd case claiming 'jury misconduct'
Derek Chauvin and protests following his guilty verdict (Minnesota Department of Corrections/ Getty Images)

In yet another twist to the Derek Chauvin trial, his lawyer filed a motion on May 4 to throw out the jury's verdict. As multiple media outlets reported, Chauvin's lawyer Eric Nelson is seeking a new trial, after claiming "prosecutorial and jury misconduct". 

According to Nelson, the court made multiple errors that "deprived the defendant of a fair trial" and resulted in "a verdict that is contrary to law". The challenge is one of the many avenues Chauvin has, but this particular road is perhaps one of the most controversial. The filing blames the court for the verdict, saying it did not do its duty on several counts, which is an ambitious challenge indeed.

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Eric Nelson arguing the case for Derek Chauvin (Court TV screenshot)

It was widely expected that Chauvin would appeal the guilty verdict, using many of the arguments Nelson has made in his latest motion. As USA Today reported, "While nearly every conviction yields an appeal, their success rate is about 10% or lower." Given those low chances, it seems like Chauvin and Nelson believe this strategy has a better shot. The former cop is currently being held at Oak Park Heights while he awaits sentencing on June 25.

Chauvin's lawyer argues court violated rights

In the motion requesting a new trial, Nelson cites multiple alleged errors. Local news platform KARE 11 reported that Nelson claimed the court deprived Chauvin of a fair trial, including:

Denial of a change of venue
Publicity surrounding the case
Failure to sequester the jury
Prosecutorial misconduct by allegedly disparaging the defense and failing to adequately prepare witnesses
The court's failure to order testimony from Morries Hall, who was with George Floyd on the day of his death
Jury instructions that "failed to accurately reflect the law" on the murder charges
Allowing the state to "present cumulative evidence" on use of force
The court allowed the state to "lead witnesses on direct examination"
The court failed to order a record of "numerous sidebars that occurred during the trial"

"The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights," Nelson wrote. The motion has been filed with Judge Cahill, with the case still under his jurisdiction. The judge has notably ruled on some of these arguments in the past, including changing the venue and sequestering the jury. Reportedly, the filing is routine for such cases, but it is less routine for someone to argue for the verdict to be 'impeached' due to prosecutorial misconduct. 

Activists demonstrate near the Hennepin County Government Center following the start of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on March 29, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Getty Images)

Nelson argued, "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." This filing is allegedly targeted towards Brandon Mitchell, one of the jurors in the case. Mitchell was photographed with a 'Get your knee off our necks' t-shirt at a BLM rally in Washington DC in 2020. 

In response to the filing the Minnesota Attorney General's office, which prosecuted Chauvin, released a statement and said, "The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them." The news has also quickly made its way to social media, with many getting behind Chauvin to claim the trial wasn't fair. 

Brandon Mitchell, the juror under fire for his T-shirt (Travis Mitchell/ Facebook)

'Destined to be a Moscow show trial'

Rightwing commentator Todd Starnes tweeted, "The question is whether the state of Minnesota ever intended to give Mr Chauvin a fair trial." Another user claimed, "Derek Chauvin did not receive a fair trial. “Social Justice Warriors” disguised as jurors lied, infiltrated, and defiled our sacred Justice System. It’s time to start holding the mob accountable."

"Yes I agree no way for Chauvin to get a fair trial. They are all scared of BLM and Antifa!!!" claimed one user. Another said, "Derek Chauvin never had a chance at getting a fair trial. It was destined to be like a Moscow show trial from the beginning."



 



 



 



 

Others though slammed the motion. One Twitter user said, "ironic how derek chauvin is requesting a fair trial when he didnt give george floyd a fair chance at life." Another user tweeted, "If the argument is that there was too much pretrial publicity then he'll never get their idea of a "fair" trial anywhere, ever. We all saw what happened. ALL OF US. FUCK DEREK CHAUVIN." Another said, "Chauvin received a fair trial. He got more justice than he gave George Floyd."



 



 



 

It is unclear as of now when Nelson's latest arguments will be heard and what chances they have of succeeding. Given the fact that the motion was filed with Judge Cahill, it seems unlikely he would waver from his original standing on several arguments but could be willing to hear others, particularly after the judge conceded that Rep Maxine Waters' statements could give Chauvin's defense some room.

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