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Filing for a new lawsuit is routine after a guilty verdict and often reflects issues that are raised on appeal, said Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis attorney who followed the case closely. If this request is denied, Nelson can add another level of decision making to appeal. Brandt and others have said that Chauvin’s beliefs are unlikely to be reversed.
Nelson gave many reasons in his request for a new trial. He said Judge Peter Cahill misused the court’s discretion and violated Chauvin’s right to due process and due process when he denied Nelson’s motion to relocate the trial to another county for pre-trial solicitation.
He also said Cahill misused his discretion in denying an earlier request for a new trial due to publicity during the trial, which Nelson said threatened the fairness of the trial. Nelson said the public included “intimidating” the defense expert witness, which could have a “widespread deterrent effect” on the defendants’ ability to obtain expert witnesses in high-profile cases, including the impending cases of the three other former officers in Floyd’s death accused.
“The advertising here was so ubiquitous and detrimental before and during this process that it was a structural flaw in the process,” wrote Nelson.
Nelson also questioned Cahill’s refusal to seize the jury for trial or warn them to avoid all media and his refusal to allow a man who was with Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify.
Nelson said Cahill also misused his discretion when he presented jury instructions that Nelson said did not accurately reflect the murder charges and use of force law, allowed the state to produce cumulative evidence of the use of force, and ordered the state to refer witnesses direct examination among other things.
Nelson also requested a hearing from the judge to indict the verdict on the grounds that the jury had committed misconduct, experienced racial pressure, felt intimidated or threatened, and / or failed to follow the jury’s instructions, even though the filing did not provide details this assertion. To indict a judgment is to question its validity.
The letter made no mention of recent reports that one of the jurors was participating in an August 28 march in Washington, DC, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
That juror, Brandon Mitchell, has defended his actions, stating that the event was to commemorate March 1963 in Washington and not a protest against Floyd’s death. Floyd’s brother and sister Philonise and Bridgett Floyd and relatives of others who had been shot by police spoke to the crowd in March last year.
Nelson did not immediately return a message asking for details of his allegation of jury misconduct.
Brandt said Nelson would likely submit more detailed written arguments on these issues. The purpose of an indictment hearing against the verdict is to keep a record of the facts and produce evidence that could determine whether the verdict has been compromised. If a hearing is granted, Mitchell will likely be called in to answer questions, Brandt said.