The legal team for Derek Chauvin filed a motion for a new trial for the former Minneapolis police officer on Tuesday (May 4) in the death of George Floyd.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, filed the motion “on the grounds of juror misconduct, and argued that the court abused its discretion for failing to agree to the defense’s requests for a change of venue and sequestering the jury,” according to WCCO-TV.
The misconduct charge came after a photo surfaced recently from August 2020 of Brandon Mitchell, 31, a juror in Chauvin’s murder trial. The Minneapolis high school basketball coach was photographed in Washington, D.C., while he was attending the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He was standing next to two relatives wearing a black T-shirt with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. with the words “Get your knee off our necks,” as well as a black baseball cap with the letters “BLM” (for Black Lives Matter), according to The Washington Post.
In his juror questionnaire, Mitchell reportedly wrote that he had not attended any police brutality protests. Mitchell told WCCO-TV, a CBS news affiliate, Monday (May 3) 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 told WCCO-TV.
In response to the motion, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison late Tuesday afternoon released a statement, rejecting the arguments: “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them,” the report notes.
The date for Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 25.
On April 20, 2021, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes on May 25, 2020. He was convicted after a two-week trial and roughly 10 hours of deliberation by the jury.
Peter Cahill, the judge in the murder trial, has been deliberating the length of Chauvin’s sentencing and determining whether any aggravating factors existed during the murder. Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison.