Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Derek Chauvin’s constitutional right to a fair trial was violated.
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filed a motion seeking a new trial in the death of George Floyd, arguing that his constitutional right to a fair trial was violated multiple times throughout the proceedings.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson took issue with the judge’s refusal to grant a change of venue and the decision to not sequester jurors during the trial, among other things in a 10-point post-verdict filing.
“The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights,” the filing reads.
Nelson argued that it was unconstitutional when the court declined to compel testimony from Morries Hall, a suspected drug dealer and friend of Floyd’s who was with him at the time of the May 25, 2020 incident that led to his death.
“The Court abused its discretion and violated Mr. Chauvin’s rights under the Confrontation Clause when it failed to order Morries Hall to testify, or in the alternative, to admit into evidence Mr. Hall’s statements to law enforcement regarding his interactions with George Floyd and presence at the May 25, 2020 incident.”
Hall invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying, but he had made statements to police that were not revealed to jurors, despite Nelson’s attempts to have them read in court.
Nelson also accused prosecutors of “pervasive, prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct” and alleged that jurors convicted Chauvin on charges that the evidence did not sufficiently support.
“The Court abused its discretion when it 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,” the filing reads.
And he argued that the court allowed prosecutors to lead witnesses during questioning.
In addition to requesting a new trial, Nelson also asked for the guilty verdicts against Chauvin to be tossed.
Two notable potential areas of conflict were left out of the filing – controversial remarks from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and a juror who was photographed at a Black Lives Matter protest but failed to acknowledge it on the pretrial questionnaire given to potential jury members.
Waters had said she would urge protesters to “get more confrontational” if Chauvin had been acquitted at trial.
And Brandon Mitchell, the juror, was photographed last summer at a Washington, D.C., BLM rally wearing a T-shirt that said “Get your knee off our neck” – a reference to Floyd’s death after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on video.
The questionnaire asked directly whether potential jurors had attended protests over the death of Floyd or over police brutality. Mitchell answered “no” to both questions.