Derek Chauvin's lawyer, Eric Nelson, has filed an appeal requesting a new trial, citing "prosecutorial and jury misconduct," according to court documents published on Tuesday.
The legal team for the convicted former police officer claimed that a new trial should be decreed as the defendant was "deprived of a fair trial" due to "abuse of discretion," "prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial."
"The jury committed misconduct, felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations, in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial," the document reads.
The defendant’s lawyers, recalling the attention drawn by the trial as well as multiple protests, suggested that the court had failed to properly sequester the jury and protect them from “prejudicial publicity," so "pervasive" that it "amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings.” The lawyers also claim that jurors were "intimidated" and afraid of "retribution."
"Not only did such acts escalate the potential for prejudice in these proceedings, they may result in a far-reaching chilling effect on defendants’ ability to procure expert witness […] to testify on their behalf,” the filling says.
The attorneys also mentioned other allegations of court abuse, including the refusal of a change of venue and a failure to bring additional witnesses, including Floyd's friend, Morries Hall, who was present on the day of the incident.
On 20 April, Derek Chauvin was found guilty in Hennepin County by a 12-member jury of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd in May last year, by putting his knee on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and restricting his breathing. Chauvin, who could face up to 75 years in prison, is expected to be sentenced on 16 June.