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Derek Chauvin asks judge to throw out murder convictions in George Floyd’s death

Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Derek Chauvin’s attorney is set to argue Minnesota should throw out his state murder conviction in the death of George Floyd in a Wednesday hearing.

The former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in June 2021 after he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin was found guilty of pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes, resulting in Floyd’s death in May 2020. The death triggered a wave of protests against police misconduct and a racial reckoning nationwide.

Chauvin’s attorney, William F. Mohrman, will argue that pretrial publicity “was more extensive than in any trial ever in Minnesota,” and that publicity, ongoing civil unrest, alleged exclusion of evidence and “misconduct” from the prosecution led to an unfair trial, according to court documents.

Mohrman cites the local death of Daunte Wright, a Black man killed by police while Chauvin’s trial was pending; Minneapolis’ $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family; and the exclusion of evidence concerning Floyd’s past arrest as laying the foundation for an unfavorable trial outcome.

Mohrman is also questioning whether Chauvin’s third-degree murder should be overturned “because this charge allowed the state to introduce evidence of Chauvin’s ‘depraved mind’ which is irrelevant to unintentional second degree murder.”

The appellant brief, filed last year, requests the state “either reverse his conviction, reverse and remand for a new trial in a new venue or remand for re-sentencing.”

Chauvin was also sentenced to 21 years in prison on federal civil rights charges after pleading guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights and using unreasonable and excessive force, even after he was aware Floyd had lost consciousness and a pulse.

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