MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Attorney Eric Nelson has filed a motion for a new trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
Nelson filed the motion on the grounds of juror misconduct, and that the court abused its discretion for failing to agree to the defense’s requests for a change of venue and sequestering the jury.
The filing comes in the midst of a controversy surrounding a photo of juror Brandon Mitchell at the March on Washington last August, which included speeches from George Floyd’s family members. He is seen wearing a T-shirt that says “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.” In his juror questionnaire, Mitchell wrote that he had not attended any protests about police brutality. Mitchell told WCCO Monday that he was at the march in support of ramping up voter turnout for the 2020 presidential election.
“Either way, I was going to D.C. for this event, even if George Floyd was still alive,” Mitchell said.
Attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with Chauvin’s case, said the odds of him getting a new trial are “very low.”
“It appears that when it comes to this alleged juror misconduct Derek Chauvin is asking for this verdict to be thrown out,” Tamburino said. “Obviously the defense is under the gun, they have 14 days to do a motion for a new trial.”
A spokesperson from the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released this brief statement late Tuesday afternoon: “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
On April 20, the jury in Chauvin’s trial found him guilty on all three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
It took the jury roughly 10 hours of deliberation to reach their verdict, including about four hours on the first day and another six hours on the second day.
Chauvin showed no reaction as the judge read all three unanimous verdicts. He was quickly handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. He spent his first days of conviction in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights.
Since the verdict hearing, Peter Cahill, the judge in the murder trial, has been deliberating the length of sentencing. Cahill must also determine whether any aggravating factors existed during the murder. Aggravating factors will aid in the determination of length in Chauvin’s sentencing.
The first possible aggravating factor is whether the victim was “treated with particular cruelty.” The second is if a child was present. Witnesses who testified included two teens who were 17 at the time and a 9-year-old.
WCCO spoke with Tamburino about this situation. He is not affiliated with the case.
“If they find aggravating factors the judge could go all the way up to the statutory maximum, which for count one is up to 40 years, count two up to 25 years, and count three up to 10 years,” Tamburino said.
Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 25.