The defense attorney for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop convicted for the death of George Floyd, has filed a motion in court requesting a new trial for his client. The attorney, Eric Nelson, cited a host of reasons including jury misconduct.
According to ABC News, Nelson wants a new hearing to have his client’s guilty verdict impeached. Per the filing, Nelson argues his client deserves 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,” the filing states.
Nelson also argues that the court “abused its discretion and violated Mr. Chauvin’s rights under the Confrontation Clause” as the judge rejected a subpoena to have Morries Hall testify and also refused to admit previous statements he made to the police into evidence. Hall, who was a passenger in Floyd’s car on the day of his death, had invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to not testify 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 adds.
Responding to the filing, John Stiles, the deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, told ABC News, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd on April 20. The 46-year-old African-American father lost his life after the former police officer knelt on his neck for over nine minutes despite repeatedly telling him he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s May 25 death sparked protests both within and outside the United States in what was a year of racial reckoning.
Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for manslaughter. The sentences will, however, run concurrently. And per Minnesota sentencing guidelines, Chauvin could likely receive a lighter sentence of up to 15 years as this is his first criminal offense.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have asked the judge to give Chauvin a severe sentence because of the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death, arguing that the deceased was “treated with particular cruelty.”