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Derek Chauvin’s attorney seeks new trial; juror addresses viral photo that references George Floyd

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MINNEAPOLIS, (FOX 47) — On Tuesday, the attorneys who represent Derek Chauvin filed a motion for a new trial, claiming the trial was unfair to Chauvin.

The filing lists the following reasons for a new trial:

  • Change of venue was denied
  • Previous denial of a new trial because of outside publicity, such as the civil settlement between Floyd’s family and the City of Minneapolis
  • Jurors were not sequestered
  • The prosecution committed “pervasive prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct”
  • Morries Hall, Floyd’s friend who was with him the day he died, did not testify
  • The court gave jurors instructions that did not “accurately reflect the law” for 2nd-degree unintentional murder, 3rd-degree murder, and authorized use of force
  • The prosecution lead witnesses

The defense filing also asks for a hearing to impeach the verdict on the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt threatened, felt race-related pressure, or failed to follow deliberation rules.

Tuesday’s filing also comes after a photo of the first juror who went public following the Chauvin guilty verdict, Brandon Mitchell, surfaced. In the picture he’s seen wearing a T-shirt that read, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.”

Brandon Mitchell

Mitchell wore the shirt as he participated in the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, in August. The March on Washington is the historic march originally led by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963, where King gave his famous “I Have A Dream Speech.”

The Floyd family also participated in the August, 2020 march and spoke to the crowd.

“Either way, I was going to D.C. for this event, even if George Floyd was still alive,” Mitchell said.

He told the Star Tribune he went to the march because of MLK. Mitchell also attended because of the voter registration aspect of the rally.

Prior to Tuesday’s defense motion, many speculated that the defense would file for a Schwartz Hearing because of the new information that surfaced about Mitchell. That type of hearing determines juror misconduct.

“If the judge then thinks you made a showing that there is [misconduct], the procedure would be to have the juror comes in. Summon the juror into court and question them under oath,” said Jim McGeeney, a criminal defense attorney for Doda & McGeeney, PA.

“Some of these questions from the defense counsel and the judge may ask as to, why this wasn’t disclosed? What was the juror’s reasoning for not disclosing it was. And then ultimately whether or not that quite frankly makes sense from all parties’ perspective. And then separately whether it rises to the level of misconduct,” said criminal defense attorney Zach Bauer at Meshbesher & Spence Lawyers.

Mitchell said he answered the attorneys’ questions truthfully during jury selection and on the questionnaire.

According to the Star Tribune, the jury questionnaire asked if he participated in any police brutality protests, and Mitchell answered ‘no.’ He also said that he did not participate in any police brutality protests in Minnesota after George Floyd died.

“The attorneys and the judge asked me all the questions they needed and I answered them as straightforward as I could,” he said.

However, it’s still a reason the defense wants to appeal the verdict.

“If I was the attorneys I certainly would. He clearly was making a statement I think in wearing that T-shirt at that march and whether he answered truthfully or not regarding his biases” McGeeney said.

But what could this mean for the verdict?

“More than likely this is a situation where the verdict probably stands. Does that it mean it will happen in this case? There is no guarantees, but that’s the most like the outcome that exists,” Bauer said. “I also think that people need to understand that this is part of the process. If ultimately a juror did commit misconduct in this case, you know, the justice system and the constitution is meant to protect defendants. And so ultimately that defendant is entitled to have a jury of 12 people, that are not biased and that are honest.”

Bauer and McGeeney both believe that if the judge grants a Schwartz Hearing, it would most likely happen before Chauvin is sentenced on June 25.

KaMaria Braye

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