The defense attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin complained to the judge Monday that the jury for his client’s trial has not been adequately sequestered. He suggested the jury is likely being “bombarded” with outside messaging and media reports about the case.
Judge Peter Cahill did not seem too bothered. He dismissed the concerns, telling attorney Eric Nelson: “Well, to be fair, the last few times I advised [the jury], I told them not to watch the news, pure and simple.”
Nelson argued that it’s virtually impossible for the jurors to get away from the outside press and messages, drawing attention to the fact that the jurors were not told to stay away from all media, but only to try to avoid media that pertains to the case. The attorney also noted that he had to get rid of an email account over “literally thousands and thousands and thousands” of messages from outsiders and that alerts on his smart devices are at times unavoidable.
The defense attorney added that messaging over the case has even popped up in television shows, adding that at least two of them happened within the past few days. Nelson did not name the specific shows in the courtroom but stated that he would like to add supplemental documents outlining what he was talking about.
Most notably, Nelson referenced recent comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that appeared to encourage violence if Chauvin is not convicted. This, too, was dismissed by Judge Cahill concerning a mistrial, though he did blast the congresswoman and told Nelson that she could have given him a lane for an appeal.
Perhaps adding to juror intimidation, a witness called by the defense was reportedly targeted by activists this past weekend over his testimony in the Chauvin trial.
A home previously owned by former police officer Barry Brodd was smeared with animal blood, and a severed pig’s head was left at the front porch. Anti-police activists have commonly referred to police officers as “pigs.”
During his closing remarks on Monday, Nelson zeroed in on the prosecution’s “nine-minute” narrative concerning the detainment of George Floyd, arguing that jurors must look past the prosecution’s narrative and also assess the first 16 minutes and 59 seconds of video before coming to a conclusion.
The Daily Wire reported:
“Jurors’ analysis should start with Chauvin’s initial knowledge before arriving on scene, Nelson argued. Chauvin knew that a business requested officers’ assistance, and the alleged male offender was still on the scene. The man was described as large, standing at six-feet or taller and possibly under the influence of alcohol or something else. Chauvin was then told that an officer on scene requested assistance.”
Nelson later argued that when Chauvin arrived at the Cup Foods corner store that had called the police, what any “reasonable police officer would see could be defined … as active aggression, or active resistance” from Floyd. The attorney showed video of two officers struggling to put Floyd into the squad car.
Floyd complained that he was “claustrophobic” and repeatedly stated that he was a “good guy” before Chauvin had “laid a finger on Mr. Floyd,” Nelson noted. Chauvin at the time would have also observed “the white foam around Floyd’s mouth,” Nelson continued.