Derek Chauvin requests new trial after George Floyd murder conviction

5 May 2021, 07:13

Derek Chauvin is seeking a new trial over the killing of George Floyd
Derek Chauvin is seeking a new trial over the killing of George Floyd. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Derek Chauvin has requested a new trial just two weeks after being found guilty of killing George Floyd, a court filing has revealed.

According to a document submitted on Tuesday, the defence attorney for the former Minneapolis police officer launched a blistering attack on the judge, accusing him of mishandling the trial and violating the rights of his client.

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Mr Floyd on 25 May 2020.

Evidence at the trial in April included a shocking video, watched by millions online and sparking worldwide protests and riots, of Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd's neck for nine and a half minutes as the black man said he could not breathe and went motionless.

READ MORE: Former officer Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder of George Floyd

But defence attorney Eric Nelson claims Judge Peter Cahill abused the discretion of the court and violated Chauvin's right to due process and a fair trial when he denied a request to move the trial to another county due to pretrial publicity.

Judge Peter Cahill has been accused of violating his client's right to a fair trial after confirming a guilty verdict last month
Judge Peter Cahill has been accused of violating his client's right to a fair trial after confirming a guilty verdict last month. Picture: PA Images

He also accused Mr Cahill of abusing his discretion when he denied an earlier request for a new trial based on publicity during the proceedings, which Mr Nelson claimed threatened the fairness of the trial.

Mr Nelson also took issue with the judge'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 Mr Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify.

READ MORE: 'BLM protests will be bigger and better': Activist reacts to Derek Chauvin's conviction

Mr Nelson asked the judge to impeach the verdict - effectively making it void - 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.

The brief did not mention recent reports that one of the jurors participated in an 28 August march in Washington, DC, to honour Martin Luther King Jr.

That juror, Brandon Mitchell, has defended his actions, saying the event was to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington and was not a protest over Mr Floyd's death.

Siblings of the victim, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who had been shot by police addressed the crowd at the march last summer.

Mr Nelson did not immediately return a message seeking details on his allegation of juror misconduct.