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Chauvin trial: Jury has reached a verdict, which will be announced this afternoon

Derek Chauvin
Posted at 6:08 AM, Apr 20, 2021

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin has reached a verdict and it will be read in court between 4:30 and 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The jurors who sat quietly off-camera through three weeks of draining testimony regarding George Floyd’s death deliberated for about a day before it was announced that a verdict was reached.

Tuesday marks the first full day of deliberations for the jury in the Chauvin trial, a day after prosecutors and defense lawyers presented lengthy closing arguments that lasted nearly seven hours.

During closing arguments on Monday, prosecutors attempted to keep the jury's focus on the widely-shared bystander video that shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck and back for nearly nine minutes.

"This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It’s exactly that. You can believe your eyes. It’s exactly what you believed. It’s exactly what you saw with your eyes. It’s exactly what you knew. It’s what you felt in your gut. It’s what you now know in your heart," prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher said. "This wasn’t policing. This was murder. The defendant is guilty of all three counts, all of them. And there’s no excuse."

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death.

The closing arguments were consistent with the state's case against Chauvin. It has repeatedly pointed to the viral video as the best case for convicting the former Minneapolis police officer of murder. The state has also relied on police experts who deemed Chauvin's use of force excessive, and medical experts who say that Floyd died of low levels of oxygen, caused primarily by Chauvin blocking his breathing.

However, in lengthy closing arguments that included a lunch break, the defense argued jurors needed to go beyond the viral bystander video and consider other factors in the case. Defense lawyers argued that Chauvin acted reasonably and that the 46-year-old man died of an underlying heart condition and illegal drug use.

"The standard is not what should the officer have done," Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, said. "The standard is what were the facts known to this officer at the exact moment he used force," and "would a reasonable police officer, what would a reasonable police officer have done."

Prior to closing statements on Monday, Nelson made a motion for a mistrial on the grounds of statements made by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California. Waters, who joined those protesting the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright on Saturday in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, told news outlets that "I hope that we're going to get a verdict that is a guilty," and that "if we don't, we cannot go away."

Judge Peter Cahill dismissed Nelson's motion for a mistrial, but added that Waters' statement may give Chauvin's team grounds for appeal.

Jurors, who went into sequester following closing arguments, resumed deliberations on Tuesday morning. The 12 jurors must reach a unanimous decision on all three charges, or a mistrial will be declared.

Watch coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial here.

Court TV will be the only network with cameras in the courtroom and will provide live, gavel-to-gavel coverage.

The entire trial will be on live TV as well as available online, and the Court TV app for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android and Apple devices.

Find Court TV's full coverage of MN v. Derek Chauvin here.