The defense will continue presenting its witnesses today during the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson has not explicitly laid out who will testify, but the witnesses are likely to further the broad themes of his case to acquit Chauvin.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
In opening statements and cross-examinations, Nelson has focused on three main arguments:
- George Floyd died of drug and health problems
- Chauvin's use of force was ugly but appropriate
- The crowd of bystanders became hostile and distracted Chauvin from taking care of Floyd
Witnesses called by the prosecution have contested each of those theories — but it will be up to the jury to ultimately decide.
While the trial has focused on Chauvin and Floyd, the societal stakes of the high-profile case were made vividly clear when police shot and killed a Black man Sunday in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
In light of the unrest, Nelson asked the court to question jurors further and sequester them for the rest of the trial. Judge Cahill rejected the request and said he plans to fully sequester the jury for deliberations next week. Jurors in the trial are currently partially sequestered, meaning they are released to go home each day.