Judge Peter Cahill said defense attorney Eric Nelson didn’t show that the court abused its discretion and denied Chauvin the right to a fair trial. The ruling came hours before Chauvin was to be sentenced for murder in Floyd’s death.
Requests for new trials after a conviction are routine but rarely granted.
Chauvin, 45, pinned Floyd to a Minneapolis street for about 9 1/2 minutes on May 25, 2020, ignoring the Black man’s cries of “I can’t breathe” and the shouts of onlookers. Bystander video of Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis, some violent, and quickly spread around the world.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argued that intense publicity around Floyd’s death tainted the jury pool and that the trial should have been moved away from Minneapolis. He also offered a range of other arguments, all dismissed by prosecutors, who said Chauvin was fairly convicted.
Cahill also rejected Nelson’s request for a hearing into possible juror misconduct. The defense accused juror Brandon Mitchell of not being candid during jury selection because he didn’t mention his participation in a march last summer to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Prosecutors countered that Mitchell had been open about his views in a jury questionnaire and during the questioning of potential jurors.
The judge ruled the defense didn’t show any evidence of juror misconduct either during trial or during jury selection that warranted an evidentiary hearing.
Chauvin is expected to appeal his conviction.