Derek Chauvin wants a new trial and if possible away from Minneapolis. Found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, he indeed asked Tuesday for the annulment of the verdict, accusing the jury of having had “inappropriate behavior”.
His request was filed after photos of one of the twelve jurors appeared in an anti-racist demonstration, which raised questions about his impartiality. In his request, Derek Chauvin does not, however, mention these pictures.
Isolation of the jurors in question
His lawyer Me Eric Nelson requests “a hearing to quash the verdict on the basis of inappropriate behavior by the jury, threats, intimidation and pressure having weighed on him and / or his failure to follow the instructions during the deliberations”, according to a document sent to justice. He is also asking for a new trial on the grounds that the judge refused to disorient the trial and isolate the jurors during the hearings, so much so that they, according to him, were influenced by the immense media coverage of the case.
After three weeks of debate and short deliberation, Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder of George Floyd on April 20 and immediately jailed. His sentence will be returned on June 25. Eight days after this historic verdict, one of the jurors, Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year-old black man, gave several interviews, hoping to encourage African Americans to sit on juries. “Like voting, it can help bring about change,” he said.
A new “unlikely” verdict
Since then, a photo of him, wearing a T-shirt in the colors of the Black Lives Matter movement with the mention “Take your knees off our necks”, has surfaced on social networks. Brandon Mitchell explained to the local press that he was photographed in this outfit on the sidelines of a large anti-racist demonstration organized in late August in Washington for the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic “I have a dream” speech.
In the questionnaire sent to potential jurors before the trial, he said he had not participated in the protests against the police violence that followed the death of George Floyd. “His answers were technically correct,” since it was a commemoration, notes jury selection expert Jeffrey Frederick. “It is now up to the judge to question him again to see if he had any preconceptions or if he lied, and to decide if it is serious enough to affect the outcome of the trial.” But the cancellation of a lawsuit “happens very rarely”. Likewise, Steve Tuller, juror selection consultant, considers “unlikely that these revelations will change the verdict.” But according to him, “there is no doubt that the defense will use it to appeal.”