Derek Chauvin Appeals Conviction For The Death Of George Floyd

(Photo by Minnesota Department of Corrections via Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his attorney appealed his three convictions for the death of George Floyd on Wednesday.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from Chauvin’s lawyer, William Mohrman, and former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who is representing the state of Minnesota, NPR reported. Chauvin filed to appeal the verdict on the grounds that public opinion influenced the jury’s late-April verdict.

During his trial, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill sentenced him to 22 1/2 years in prison after the jury found him guilty of second-degree and third-degree murder in relation to the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, whom Chauvin pinned to the ground with his knee.

Mohrman argued before a three-member panel that the pre-trial sentiment following Floyd’s death made it impossible for his client to have a fair trial in April 2021, NPR reported. He further argued that Cahill excluded evidence that would have worked in Chauvin’s favor prior to the jury’s verdict, according to Fox News.

“Our primary argument here is that this case could not be tried in Minneapolis because of the pretrial publicity which was pervasive … and also just the physical pressure on the courthouse,” Mohrman said.

Katyal argued in his opening statement that the trial was one of the most transparent and thorough … in [the] nation’s history,” the outlet reported. (RELATED: Derek Chauvin Files For New Trial After Conviction For Murder Of George Floyd)

The panel intends to issue an opinion within 90 days, NPR reported.

The previously filed appeal argued that the trial should have been held in Hennepin County, where Floyd died, due to the widespread media coverage and outrage by activists across the country, according to the Associated Press. Mohrma alleged that some jurors expressed fears for their safety and stability if Chauvin were acquitted due to threats from protesters and rioters.

“The overwhelming media coverage exposed the jurors — literally every day — to news demonizing Chauvin and glorifying Floyd which was more than sufficient to presume prejudice,” the court filing said.

Floyd’s death sparked a summer of nationwide protests and destructive riots throughout major cities by Black Lives Matter activists and supporters of the movement. The riots caused at least 19 deaths in the first 14 days—a majority of whom were black—and destroyed over 250 buildings by June 1, 2020.

A county medical examiner found that Floyd had fentanyl in his system and had recently used methamphetamine before he died. A pulmonary critical care expert witness, however, testified in the trial that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen from being pinned on the pavement by Chauvin’s knee.