Derek Chauvin's lawyer seeks new trial and impeachment of verdict

Former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of killing George Floyd

FILE - In this April 20, 2021 file image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin's trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd,, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Nelson has requested a new trial, saying the court abused its discretion when it refused to change the venue in the original proceedings, according to a court document filed Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

The defence lawyer for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd has requested a new trial.

Defence lawyer Eric Nelson said 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 on Tuesday.

To impeach a verdict is to question its validity.

Derek Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 death of Floyd. Evidence at trial showed Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as the black man said he couldn't breathe and went motionless.

Mr Nelson cited many reasons in his request for a new trial. He said Judge Peter Cahill abused the discretion of the court and breached Chauvin’s right to due process and a fair trial when he denied Mr Nelson’s request to move the trial to another county owing to pretrial publicity.

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

Mr Nelson also took issue with Judge 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 give evidence.

Mr 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.

The brief did not mention recent reports that one of the jurors participated in an August 28 march in Washington 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 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.

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

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