Defense attorney Eric Nelson said he is requesting a new trial in the interests of justice. He said there were abuses of discretion that deprived Chauvin of a fair trial, prosecutorial and jury misconduct, and that the verdict was contrary to law.
A request for a new trial is routine after a guilty verdict and often mirrors issues that will be raised on appeal, said Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis defense attorney who has been closely following the case. If this request is denied, it can add another layer of decisions for Nelson to appeal. Brandt and others have said Chauvin’s convictions probably won’t be overturned.
Nelson said Judge Cahill abused his discretion when he denied an earlier request for a new trial based on publicity during the proceedings, which Nelson said threatened the fairness of the trial. Nelson said that publicity included “intimidation” of the defense expert witness, which he said could have a “far-reaching chilling effect” on the ability of defendants to get expert witnesses in high-profile cases, including the upcoming cases of three other former officers charged in Floyd’s death.
Nelson had issues with the jury instructions, not sequestering the jury, not changing venue, jury misconduct and the judge’s refusal to allow a man who was with Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify to name a few.