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Convicted ex-cop Chauvin files plea in US court for new trial

A mural to pay tribute to George Floyd. Photo: F Muhammad/Pixabay

Minneapolis (US), May 5 (MNN) Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Michael Chauvin –who was convicted in April 2021 for the murder of George Floyd – has filed a plea for a new trial.

His lawyer Eric J Nelson claimed in his petition that Chauvin’s constitutional rights were violated as Judge Peter Cahill had refused to change the trial venue, and that the accused was deprived of a fair trial due to pre-trial publicity.

In the plea filed in the court in the fourth judicial district in Hennepin county in Minnesota on Tuesday, Nelson said he was moving the court to seek an order to grant a new trial in the “interests of justice; abuse of discretion that deprived the defendant of a fair trial; prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.

He said that the specific basis were that the court had “abused its discretion when it denied defendant’s motion for a change of venue, in violation of Chauvin’s constitutional rights to a due process and a fair trial.

“The court abused its discretion when it denied the defendant’s motion for a new trial on the grounds that publicity during the proceedings threaten(ed) the fairness of trial,” he said.

“… The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings…. The court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings, as well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors, which violated Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and to a fair trial.”

The plea added: “The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights.”

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