The defense attorney for former police officer Derek Chauvin filed a motion for a new trial on Tuesday.
Attorney Eric Nelson filed the request (pdf) to a Minnesota court arguing that a new trial should be granted in the interest of justice and because an abuse of discretion had deprived Chauvin of a fair trial. He also contends that Chauvin’s conviction was tainted by prosecutorial and jury misconduct, errors of law at trial, and that the verdict was contrary to law.
Chauvin was convicted last month in the 2020 death of George Floyd, who stopped breathing while being pinned to the ground by Chauvin following an arrest. Floyd was suspected of using counterfeit money in a Minneapolis store. A jury convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
In support of his request, Nelson alleged a number of issues that he said would have affected the outcome of Chauvin’s trial including the refusal to move the trial over concerns of a tainted jury pool or failing to sequester the jury. He also argued that Judge Peter Cahill abused his discretion when he rejected a separate motion for a new trial over concerns that the publicity during the case could have affected the jurors’ judgment.
“The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings,” Nelson wrote.
Other issues include alleged errors by the judge throughout the trial such as when Cahill submitted instructions to the jury that failed to “accurately reflect the law with respect to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and authorized use of force.”
He also alleged that the prosecutors had committed misconduct including disparaging the defense, improper vouching, and failing to adequately prepare its witnesses.
“The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights,” he said.
BY JANITA KAN