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Derek Chauvin Requests New Trial, Alleges Jury Misconduct

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his defense attorney Eric Nelson rise to greet jury members in Minneapolis, Minn., April 13, 2021 in this courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted last month of killing George Floyd, filed an appeal for a new trial on Tuesday. 

The request, filed by Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson, alleges that the former police officer’s ability to have a fair trial was affected by pretrial publicity. It also claims that the court abused its discretion by refusing to grant requests for a change in venue outside of Minneapolis and a new trial.

The filing says that due to the court’s failure to sequester the jury or “admonish them to avoid all media,” jurors were subjected to prejudicial publicity and “jury intimidation or potential fear of retribution.”

Nelson also accuses the prosecution in the case of having “committed pervasive, prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct, which deprived Mr. Chauvin of his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.”

Last month a jury convicted Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, even after Floyd became unconscious.

Chauvin is set to be sentenced next month.

Minnesota’s attorney general filed paperwork last week requesting that the former officer receive a more severe prison sentence as he claims Chauvin treated Floyd with “particular cruelty.”

“Defendant continued to maintain his position atop Mr. Floyd even as Mr. Floyd cried out that he was in pain, even as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant’s actions were killing him,” Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison said, according to USA Today. Ellison noted that Chauvin remained in position as Floyd yelled for his mother, stopped speaking and ultimately lost consciousness.

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