The defense attorney for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd has requested a new trial, saying the court abused its discretion on several points and that the verdict should be impeached because of jury misconduct, according to a court document filed Tuesday.
Derek Chauvin was convicted last month of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 death of Floyd.
Widely seen video showed Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for roughly nine minutes during an arrest.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson cited many reasons for his request for a new trial.
He said Judge Peter Cahill abused the discretion of the court and violated Chauvin’s right to due process and a fair trial when he denied Nelson’s request to move the trial to another county due to pre-trial publicity.
He also said Cahill abused his discretion when he denied an earlier request for a new trial based on publicity during the proceedings, which Nelson said threatened the fairness of the trial.
Nelson also took issue with Cahill’s refusal to sequester the jury for the trial or admonish them to avoid all media, and with his refusal to allow a man who was with Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify.
Nelson asked the judge to impeach the verdict on the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt pressured and/or failed to adhere to jury instructions, though the filing did not include details about that assertion. To impeach a verdict is to question its validity.
The brief did not mention recent reports that one of the jurors participated in an Aug. 28 march in Washington, D.C., wearing a Black Lives Matter hat and a t-shirt with the phrase “Get your knee off our necks.”
That juror, Brandon Mitchell, has defended his actions, saying the event was to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and was not a protest over Floyd’s death.
Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who had been shot by police addressed the crowd at the march last summer.
Nelson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
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