MINNEAPOLIS — Attorneys for the prosecution and defense in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in George Floyd’s death, are expected to present their closing arguments Monday.
The attorneys will summarize their respective evidence and witness testimony, trying to focus jurors on the most important elements and what they argue those elements proved. The prosecution rested its case last week after calling 38 witnesses and playing dozens of video clips over the course of 11 days. The defense rested Thursday after calling seven witnesses over two days.
Judge Peter Cahill told the 14 members of the jury that they should return to court at 9 a.m. CDT Monday. Following closing arguments, Cahill will instruct the jurors on the laws in the case before verdict deliberations. Two members of the jury will be informed that they were alternates and will not be part of deliberations.
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How jury deliberations will work at Derek Chauvin trial
After closing arguments, Cahill will explain each charge and the legal elements that underlie those charges. Jurors must decide whether or not the government proved all of the elements of a given charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense bears no burden of proof, and Chauvin is deemed innocent unless convicted at trial.
The jurors will be sequestered during deliberations. The court will provide meals for the jurors and put them up for the night in a hotel, where security will be provided by marshals. The jurors are not allowed to discuss the case with anyone else, or even with each other when they’re outside the deliberation room.
They are allowed to review any of the exhibits that were entered into evidence. They also are allowed to re-hear specific testimony from any of the witnesses. The jurors may send written messages out to the judge with any questions that arise.
“If I were you, I would plan for long (deliberations) and hope for short,” Cahill told jurors Thursday. More on how jury deliberations will work here.
Derek Chauvin tells court he won’t testify as defense rests its case
Derek Chauvin told the court Thursday he would not testify in his own defense. “I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today,” Chauvin said.
Chauvin, who has actively taken notes and participated in sidebars with his attorneys throughout the trial, smiled at one point when lead defense attorney Eric Nelson mentioned that they had “gone back and forth” about the issue of testifying many times. He offered short, direct answers to each question from Nelson and the judge.
Arthur Reed, George Floyd’s cousin, was in the Floyd family seat in the courtroom. Asked about Chauvin’s decision not to testify, Reed said he felt the prosecution “would have chopped him down second by second” when asked why he knelt on Floyd for so long.
“We didn’t think they were going to put him on at all,” he said, adding, “We’re just ready to get this over with, make sure he gets the justice he deserves. We think the state has put on an excellent case.”