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George Floyd: Derek Chauvin moves for a new trial, two weeks after being convicted of George Floyd’s murder




A lawyer for the former police officer says his client’s right to due process and a fair trial were violated.

George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. Pic: Minnesota Department of Corrections

Former police officer Derek Chauvin has asked for a new trial, two weeks after he was found guilty of killing George Floyd.

In a series of motions filed to District Court Judge Peter Cahill, Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, said his client was deprived of a fair trial, adding there was prosecutorial and jury misconduct, errors of law at trial and that the verdict was contrary to law.

Listen: Justice for George Floyd – but will Chauvin trial change America and beyond?

Mr Nelson said the judge had 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.

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He also said the judge had abused his discretion when he denied an earlier request for a new trial based on the publicity that allegedly threatened the fairness of the trial.

The decision not to sequester the jury was criticised, as was the decision not to allow a man who was with Mr. Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify.

Mr. Nelson also said the jury’s verdict should be “impeached” because the jurors “committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations”.

There was no mention of news reports that one juror was part of a march in Washington DC in August to honour Martin Luther King Jr, where he wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.

The juror – Brandon Mitchell – has insisted the march was not a protest over Mr. Floyd’s death.

Former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin went on trial in April, accused of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter – charges he denied.

The jurors had taken 10-and-a-half hours to convict the 45-year-old on all counts.

Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died while being restrained by Chauvin, who is white, during his arrest in the US city in May 2020.

Video filmed by bystanders showed Chauvin’s knee pressed into Mr. Floyd’s neck and back for almost nine minutes as he gasped for breath.

The footage shocked the world and sparked global protests about racism and police brutality.

But the rare verdict against the police officer was welcomed by many, including US President Joe Biden.

It was seen as a milestone in the US’s difficult racial history, and an admonishment of the way American law enforcement treats black Americans.

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