Derek Chauvin, the man convicted of murdering George Floyd, has filed an appeal for a new trial.
According to CNN, the former Minneapolis police officer says his constitutional right to a fair trial was repeatedly violated throughout the proceedings. The filing cites a total of eight errors committed by prosecutors and the court, including the refusal to change the trial’s venue and failure to sequester the jury. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, argued the jurors should’ve been ordered to avoid all media so they would not be exposed to prejudicial publicity regarding the case and his client.
“The court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings,” Nelson wrote in the motion, “as well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors, which violated Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and to a fair trial.”
Nelson also criticized the court for not ordering testimony from Morries Hall, Floyd’s friend who was with him in the moments leading up to his death.
“The Court abused its discretion and violated Mr. Chauvin’s rights under the Confrontation Clause when it failed to order Morries Hall to testify, or in the alternative, to admit into evidence Mr. Hall’s statements to law enforcement regarding his interactions with George Floyd and presence at the May 25, 2020 incident,” the document continued.
The motion was filed amid controversy surrounding juror Brandon Mitchell, who was photographed at last year’s March on Washington event. Mitchell attended the march while wearing a T-shirt that included the phrase, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” a reference to Chauvin’s actions the resulted in Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.
The images raised questions on whether the juror entered the trial with a preconceived opinion of Chauvin; however, Mitchell insists that wasn’t the case, as he had no prior knowledge of the ex-officer during the jury selection process. He told the Star-Tribune the March on Washington had nothing to do with Floyd or his family, pointing out that the event was “directly related to MLK’s March on Washington from the ’60s … The date of the March on Washington is the date.”
“I’d never been to DC. The opportunity to go to DC, the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something,” Mitchell said when asked why he attended the march. “I think I was being extremely honest [during jury selection]. I gave my views on everything — on the case, on Black Lives Matter.”
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection to Floyd’s death. His sentencing hearing is expected to take place in June.