Attorney Eric Nelson wrote that an abuse of discretion ‘deprived [Chauvin] of a fair trial’ in the motion filed in Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota.
‘The Court abused its discretion when it denied Defendant’s motion for a change of venue … in violation of Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to a due process and a fair trial,’ Nelson wrote.
The filing also comes after the revelation of a photo showing juror Brandon Mitchell at the March on Washington in August.
Nelson also claimed that the court abused its discretion when it denied Chauvin’s motion for a new trial on the grounds that ‘publicity during the proceedings threaten[ed] the fairness of the trial.’
‘Such publicity included post-testimony, but pre-deliberation, intimidation of the defense’s expert witnesses, from which the jury was not insulated,’ Nelson wrote.
‘Not only did such acts escalate the potential for prejudice in these proceedings, they may result in a far-reaching chilling effect on the defendant’s ability to procure expert witnesses – especially in high-profile cases, such as those of Mr. Chauvin’s codefendants – to testify on their behalf.’
Nelson claimed that publicity around the case was ‘so pervasive’ and ‘so prejudicial’ that the case suffered a ‘structural defect’ in the proceedings.
Chauvin’s lawyer also claimed that the court ‘failed to sequester the jury’ throughout the trial and alleged that the jury was exposed to ‘prejudicial publicity’ and ‘jury intimidation’ that prevented his client from receiving a fair trial.
He alleged that some jurors may have felt ‘potential fear of retribution’ for deciding in a particular way during the verdict.
A photo, posted on social media shows juror Brandon Mitchell attending an August 28 event in Washington, DC, to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech during the 1963 March on Washington.
It shows Mitchell, a high school basketball coach, standing with two other men and wearing a T-shirt with a picture of King and the words, ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ and ‘BLM’. He is also wearing a baseball cap printed with Black Lives Matter.
Mitchell has admitted the photo is of him from that date, but defended attending the rally, claiming it was not explicitly a protest against police or a commemoration for George Floyd.
That is despite the fact that Floyd’s brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of other African Americans who have been shot by police addressed the crowd that day.
Mitchell said he answered ‘no’ to two questions about demonstrations on the questionnaire sent out before jury selection.
Experts said at the time of the revelation that it could be grounds for the cop’s appeal.
Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told the Associated Press that the photo of Mitchell was ‘evidence that Chauvin can point to in order to establish that his right to an impartial jury was denied.’
In the new court motion, Nelson also claimed that prosecutors committed ‘pervasive’ misconduct by failing to adequately prepare its witnesses and ‘improper vouching.’
He also alleged that the court abused its discretion when it ‘failed to order Morries Hall to testify.’
Hall, 42, was in the car with George Floyd, 46, on the day of his death.
He has spoken publicly in the months since the incident outside Cup Foods and has consistently claimed that Floyd did not resist arrest and that he himself attempted to diffuse the situation.
But in a surprise move, Hall – who was on the State’s witness list- filed a motion with Hennepin County District Court in which he gave notice that he would plead the Fifth if called upon to testify by either side.
Hall’s decision came at the end of the third day in Chauvin’s trial, which saw the jurors shown previously-unseen footage of Chauvin with his hands around Floyd’s neck, trying to wrestle him into a patrol car.
‘Mr Morries Lester Hall…hereby provides notice to all parties in this matter that if called to testify he will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,’ the legal document filed by Hennepin County Public Defender reads.
In Tuesday’s motion, Nelson also claimed that the court had ordered prosecutors to ‘lead’ witnesses on direct examination.
‘The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of his constitutional rights,’ Nelson wrote.
Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.