The decision by a Minnesota jury to convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of the death of George Floyd in May 2020 was largely unsurprising, several longtime defense lawyers told Fox News on Tuesday.
One expert called the conviction a “predetermined conclusion”.
The reactions came from attorneys Mark Geragos, Julie Rendelman, and Eric D. Anderson.
“I was not surprised,” said the high-profile lawyer Geragos. “I’ve been saying all along, given the tsunami of coverage and public dismay, the best he could ever hope for was a jury hanging.”
The 45-year-old chauvin was charged with accidental second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. The Americans nervously awaited the verdict, which was read out in court by Peter Cahill, a judge in Hennepin County. The decision found Chauvin guilty across the board.
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The defendant’s bail was immediately revoked and he was taken away behind his back with his hands tied. Cheering and honking car horns could be heard outside the Hennepin County courthouse after the verdict was read.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is handcuffed to be taken away after a jury found him guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota had found. US April 20, 2021 in a still from video. (Reuters)
Chauvin is in jail decades ago and is expected to be sentenced in about two months.
Geragos, who has a long list of high profile clients from the past including Michael Jackson, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, and convicted killer Scott Peterson, said he was expecting conviction for “chauvin” as the jury selected it they removed some of the jury because of the $ 27 million settlement announcement. “
“I thought this was the beginning of the end for any chance of not being guilty [verdict]”he continued with Fox News.
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Geragos accused Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, of being “artisanal” and “doing everything he could,” but Geragos said he had pushed for a lawsuit throughout the case.
“There was no shot that the defense would ever get an acquittal in this case. Just the idea of bringing in a jury [at] At the same time that you are talking about a $ 27 million deal and entering a courthouse that looks like an armed camp, “said Geragos.” And everyone knew if there was no condemnation, everything the hell was going to break loose. It was the predestined conclusion. “
Geragos described the chauvinist trial as “the next” to the federal trial of the Los Angeles police officer in the 1990s, which was charged with violating Rodney King’s civil rights. The LA case sparked one of the deadliest race riots in American history after a criminal trial jury acquitted four white police officers for beating the black king. In April 1993, two of the four officers were sentenced.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on May 25, 2020 after being arrested on suspicion of handing a fake $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes in a corner market. He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic, and fought with the police when they tried to put him in a patrol car. Instead, they put him on the floor.
His death sparked widespread protests that lasted months and called for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
In early March, during the jury selection in Chauvin’s trial, the City of Minneapolis agreed to pay $ 27 million to settle a civil lawsuit by Floyd’s family. Floyd family attorney Ben Crump called it the largest pre-trial settlement ever reached for a civil rights claim.
During the trial, the jury heard from senior Minneapolis police officers, family members of Floyd, bystanders, an officer who also responded to the scene, and medical experts, some of whom offered dueling opinions.
At the heart of the case was the tormenting viewer video in which Floyd repeatedly gasped, “I can’t breathe” and yelling at viewers chauvin to stop while the officer put his knee on or close to Floyd’s neck, which authorities said 9- 1 / was. 2 minutes. Floyd slowly went still and limp.
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The prosecution played the footage at the earliest possible time during the opening speech and told the jury, “Believe your eyes.” And it was shown again and again and analyzed frame by frame by witnesses on both sides.
Rendelman: ‘Overwhelming’ evidence
Julie Rendelman, a New York-based criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, told Fox News that she was “confident” that the jury would find chauvin guilty of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, noting, “The evidence presented The fourth charge was overwhelming. “
However, Rendelman said that an accidental second degree murder, the most serious of the three charges, “seemed to be more difficult for the prosecution to show that he actually acted with the intent to commit an attack beyond reasonable doubt.”
In an email to Fox News, she added, “This verdict clearly shows that the jury believed that Chauvin’s monstrous acts on that day were more than negligence, more than a corrupt mind, but an intentional and deliberate choice of Derek Chauvin injuring George Floyd, causing his death. “
Anderson: Fight history
Meanwhile, Eric D. Anderson, whose legal background has spanned more than 150 court and banking trials in state and federal courts, told Fox News that he did not expect Chauvin to be acquitted across the board but felt it was possible the process would end in a hanging jury.
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“The defense was fighting the facts and the prosecution had to fight the story,” said Anderson.
Anderson defended Nelson for his handling of the case, saying he and the prosecutor had both done a “good job” of arguing their respective cases.
“We have an old saying, ‘We don’t build them. We just fly them,'” said Anderson. “He got a pretty shabby plane right from the start.”
Matt Finn and Ruth Ravve of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.