Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has hired a private lawyer to appeal his conviction in the 2020 murder of George Floyd.
CBS Minnesota identified Chauvin’s new attorney as William Mohrman, whose law firm was involved in a lawsuit against a COVID-19 mandate in Minnesota and an Arizona suit to vacate the 2020 presidential election results on Donald Trump’s behalf.
It’s unclear how Chauvin can afford a private lawyer after he requested a public defender to handle his appeal because he said in a September affidavit that he’s broke.
A Minneapolis jury convicted Chauvin in April on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s 2020 death. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.
He was also charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s civil rights. In a viral video, Chauvin was seen kneeling on the Black man’s neck for nearly 10 minutes. Floyd was in handcuffs and facedown on the pavement. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Chauvin’s appeal is based on 14 grounds. In one claim, Chauvin accused the trial judge of abusing his discretion by rejecting his request to move the trial out of the country where he murdered Floyd, claiming that the jury pool was biased.
According to NPR, Chauvin’s previous defense attorney Eric Nelson raised all the grounds for appeal as the case worked its way through the lower court.
Chauvin asked the court to appoint a free appellate public defender, claiming that he couldn’t afford a private attorney. The Minneapolis Police Federation is no longer paying Chauvin’s attorney fees because its financial obligations to Chauvin ended when he was convicted and sentenced.
He told the court that he was $142,000 in debt, owed the IRS $60,000 and the state $37,000, and had no income aside from nominal prison wages, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. The state Supreme court denied his request this month.
His new attorney is a partner at Minneapolis-based Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson. Its involvement in the suit to vacate Arizona’s 2020 presidential election results drew complaints from the Arizona State Bar, according to CBS Minnesota. The firm also represented Minnesota health care workers who sued their employer over its vaccine mandate. A federal judge rejected their request to temporarily put the mandate on hold.