LIVE Chauvin Trial Day 15: Closing Arguments and Jury Instructions
After more witness and jury intimidation by activists and politicians threatening violence if no murder conviction.
Welcome to our ongoing LIVE coverage of the Minnesota murder trial of Derek Chauvin, over the in-custody death of George Floyd. I am Attorney Andrew Branca for Law of Self Defense.
Today we’re expecting to hear the closing arguments from the prosecution and the defense (likely with a follow-up rebuttal closing by the prosecution), as well as to have the jury given the final instructions intended to guide them in their application of Minnesota law to the facts of this case as they alone determine those facts to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
So far, that’s the normal course of business in any criminal trial in America.
What’s not normal, of course, is the judicial terrorism raging around this case.
Terrorism, of course, is the use of non-state violence to achieve political ends. What we are seeing currently in America is the use of violence to achieve purported “justice,” in the twisted and profoundly anti-American view of “justice” that is held by militant factions of such groups as Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other proponents of mob rage and violence and destruction, in which “justice” is defined not by the process but by the outcome.
As one example, the UK-based Daily Mail is reporting that the former home of defense use-of-force expert witness Barry Brodd was vandalized with blood last night—and in case there was any ambiguity in the messaging, a severed pig’s head was also left behind. Although this act of judicial terrorism has gone largely unreported by the US press, it’s certainly been noted on platforms like Twitter, by Jack Posobiec and others:
Given that Brodd’s testimony in this case is long since over, this cannot be a message targeted at him personally, as there’s nothing to left intimidate him about.
No, this can only be understood as a chilling message for the jurors in the Chauvin case, who were not sequestered over the weekend, and thus fully exposed to the “push” news of social media.
Even worse, of course, is that such acts of judicial terrorism have ripple effects that reach to every other high-profile case that may occur anytime in the living memory of anyone aware of this case. Every prospective witness, juror, even defense counsel in the next high-profile case—perhaps the rapidly approaching Rittenhouse trial?—will be fully aware of what they can expect if they play any role in the defense whatever.
This would all be bad enough if the acts of judicial terrorism were limited to a handful of fringe wackos, but it’s not. Apparently, such conduct is gleefully embraced even by America’s fringe national-level politicians.
The UK-based The Guardian is reporting that US Congresswoman Maxine Waters has crossed state lines to incite violence among protestors in Minneapolis, urging the mob to “get more confrontational.”
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 18, 2021
Those words said in the midst of a peaceful protest could be interpreted as merely urging further peaceful efforts—when said in the midst of a protest already violent, it can only be interpreted as a call for more violence.
And, sure enough, shortly after Waters’ comments, shots were fired at Minnesota National Guardsman present to secure public safety from the violent mob.
In that same video clip, Waters can be heard demanding that the chaos occurring in the streets of Minneapolis and all over the country around the trial of Derek Chauvin continue, and intensify, unless Chauvin is found guilty of first-degree (pre-meditated) murder—an intentional killing charge not even the state of Minnesota thought appropriate to bring against him, and obviously one not even on the table for the jury’s consideration.
A routine question for criminal defense attorneys at cocktail parties is, how can you defend people in court whom you know to be among society’s worst criminal predators.
And the fundamental answer to that question, at least for this criminal defense attorney, is because I care desperately about the process of justice generally, and American criminal due process in particular.
Denial of the criminal due process to the worst of us can only lead to denial of criminal due process to the rest of us—and therein lies mob “justice” and judicial, or even literal, lynching.
The American vision of justice has always been based on that process, and not on the particular outcome in any specific case, a view which helped ensure that process for all us, from best to worst, and prioritized process justice over the mob justice.
In contrast, the mob vision of justice is based entirely on outcome, and process be damned. No judicial or criminal due process can be permitted to interfere with the “justice” demanded by the mob.
Of course, this is precisely the view of “justice” that led to the infamous lynching of Emmitt Till in 1955 Mississippi, a black 14-year-old, for the purported crime of offending a white woman in a grocery store.
And this is precisely the mob justice that the militant factions of Black Lives Matter and Antifa want to bring to 2021 America.
Give us guilty, on all counts, even on counts not actually being argued in this trial, or we burn it all down generally, and target defense witnesses and, by implication, the trial jurors specifically.
Good luck with that, America.
Frankly, at this point it’s absolutely apparent that Derek Chauvin can receive nothing like a fair trial in this case. When I write that, by the way, I’m defining “fair trial” as one involving a process we’d want for ourselves or a loved one, or even a friend or neighbor.
No one would want to be on trial, or have anyone they cared about on trial, in a courthouse surrounded by a violent, raging mob, being exhorted to further violence by government officials, with militant factions of political groups terrorizing the witness for the defense, and by extension the jury itself.
Yet that is what’s been offered to Derek Chauvin as “justice.”
Regardless of what anyone may think of Derek Chauvin, it is absolute truth that the criminal due process we offer to the worst of us is precisely what any of the rest of us should expect to also receive should we find ourselves having to account in a criminal court. And not one bit more.
If you would not want to be tried under these circumstances, then you ought not want anyone tried under these circumstances, including Derek Chauvin, or worse.
One reason that Judge Cahill has denied every defense motion for a continuance or a change of venue in this case has been, in effect, what could would it do? How long would you delay? Where would you go? This chaos, in effect, will follow this defendant everywhere, so he’s no more likely to get a fair trial elsewhere in Minnesota than he is here.
I think Judge Cahill is right about that—but I think his reasoning has led him to the wrong conclusion.
If it cannot be expected that Chauvin can get any fairer a trial elsewhere in Minnesota than he can in the rage-mob surrounded Hennepin County Courthouse, the solution consistent with the “justice” any of us would want for ourselves or anyone we care about is not to compel him to endure an unfair trial where he is.
Rather, the solution consistent with “justice” is to dismiss these charges, with prejudice.
And if the rationale for not doing so is anticipated rioting, looting, and arson—and I expect that will be the rationale—then all we’re doing is admitting that we’ve already handed over “justice” in America to the mob, and adopted the “Emmett Till lynching model” of “justice” for anyone targeted by the mob.
If that’s the case, enjoy the ride.
In the meantime, stay with us right here all day as we LIVE stream the court proceedings, as well LIVE blog testimony throughout the day.
Here’s the LIVE streaming of today’s proceedings here:
And here’s our LIVE blogging of today’s proceedings:
Before I go, in view of the ongoing riots raging presently in Minneapolis, and likely to explode across the nation when this case arrives at a verdict (or mistrial), I’ve also taken the liberty of putting together a special opportunity to access our best-selling course, “Lawful Defense Against Rioters, Looters, and Arsonists,” available in both online streamed and DVD formats. You can learn more about that course, by clicking here.
And thanks, as always, to both Legal Insurrection and CCW Safe for the support that makes my coverage of this case possible.
Until court starts up for the day, and after, stay safe!
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
Attorney Andrew F. Branca’s legal practice has specialized exclusively in use-of-force law for thirty years. Andrew provides use-of-force legal consultancy services to attorneys across the country, as well as near-daily use-of-force law insight, expertise, and education to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. He wrote the first edition of the “Law of Self Defense” in 1997, which you can now order in its current edition for just the price of shipping and handling by clicking here. To know YOUR state’s use-of-force laws in an actionable way that will keep you safer physically and legally, take our state-specific advanced use of force class either streamed online or via a shipped DVD with a 100% no-question- asked money-back guarantee, here: Law of Self Defense State Specific Use-Of-Force Class.
[Featured image is a screen capture from video of a CBS news report of blood having been thrown upon, and a pig’s head left at, the former home of defense expert witness Barry Brodd.]
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This Johnny Cochran wannabe is a POS
Too bad Nelson couldn’t pull a Perry Mason and have a live courtroom demo of a cop kneeling on the shoulder of a man in prone restraint. Because nothing would happen!
If Chauvin happens to be acquitted, I think Blackwell will be partly responsible. Hard to believe every single juror is taking him seriously, considering all the theatrics, mischaracterizations, inconsistencies, and fallacies from him. Can’t fool all of them all of the time, right? He epitomizes the State “trying too hard.”
Blackwell is doing a terrible job on his rebuttal which I would characterize as scattershot.
If this is a rebuttal shouldn’t Blackwell be addressing what Nelson said in his closing? I don’t think Blackwell even listened to Nelson’s closing. Blackwell just said “it doesn’t make sense that Floyd swallowed a pill in the back of the police car because he was in handcuffs. Nelson already addressed that! Nelson said the pill was taken while Floyd was in his Mercedes because he could not take a pill once the handcuffs were on.
I bet more than one juror picked up on that!
Will they actually have the jury deliberate tonight? Seems the judge has wrapped up pretty early every day so far.
The jury is now in charge of itself, as far as scheduling goes. They can deliberate every day for up to 12 hours, but no later than 10pm.
Chauvin stole Christmas! Didn’t you hear?!
That final comment was disgusting.
And now we end the trial with the infamous Grinch prosecution tactic. “His heart was too small.”
They’ve had months to come up with their closing line.
You’d think they would at least have made it rhyme, in a nod to both Johnny Cochran and Dr. Seuss (who created the Grinch): “If the cops’ hearts were too small, convict them all!” or something.
Joke’s on them. In the end, the Grinch was the good guy, and the Whoovians just needed to understand him.
April 19, 2021 at 7:46 p.m. UTC
Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes a day after he confronted rioters at the Jan. 6 insurrection, the District’s chief medical examiner has ruled.
One good thing just occurred to me: the prosecution didn’t produce a Mark Fuhrman bombshell as in the OJ case. I think if Chauvin had taken the stand they might have attempted it. No idea if the judge would permit it. Find a ninth grade classmate who claims Chauvin uttered racial epithets.
Why can’t the jury have transcripts?
I’m wondering that too.
Cause it takes time for the court reporter to transcribe them.
I don’t understand why they can’t rotate reporters daily and have the last one transcribe the previous days proceedings.
THE JUDGE IS BIAS,
Wow, the judge is bias itself, that’s ludicrously biased.
I don’t think it’s good form to say something that gets objected to, and sustained, just before you finish. It leaves a bad taste in the juries mouth.
Nelson is absolutely right. This jury should have been sequestered from day 1. There’s just no possibility that their exposure to media hasn’t tainted their suitability.
“Cahill: I’ll grant you Waters may have given you something on appeal to reverse all of this”
Nice work Maxy. You probably just guaranteed DC is a free man! Good for you.
That’s what they want.
Provided he is not murdered while in prison, while the appeals go through.
Absolutely right. Waters, Sharpton, and crowd don’t want Chauvin convicted. They want him to walk so as to provide fodder for more demagoguery. That’s how such people make their living and how they gain power and prestige.
How dumb is the judge? Does he not know the law? It is not the appellate’s job to make decisions. It is their job to review and correct. If the idiot judge thought Waters provided a basis then he needed to declare a mistrial. He can’t punt to the appellate. How do we have judges deciding the lives of people who are either so bias or so ignorant of the law??? Blows my mind.
Bet they are ready to get out of the courtroom and into the deliberating room, they are listening to his tone of voice and body language, his words they comprehend perhaps 1/3 of.
Mr. Nelson has my respect as a decent person.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is my favorite American novel. Atticus Finch is a true Southern gentleman and a genuine hero.
HOWEVER, one thing about Tom Robinson’s trial has bugged me since I first read the novel in 9th grade: why didn’t Atticus call the drug store owner to confirm Tom’s story of Maybelle’s saving nickles for her siblings to get them out of the house? It wouldn’t have proved anything, but it would have supported his story.
Do yourself a favor and never read “Go Set a Watchman.”
I’m pretty sure the answer would be that Harper Lee thinks Atticus didn’t really believe in his client’s innocence, because he was a racist. She is wrong, however, and that’s likely more a reflection of her character than the character she wrote.
They talk about Maxine Waters but not Barry Brodd intimidation/retaliation incident?
In fairness to Nelson he’d have been the one to raise it and he’s been inundated with emails, and spent his weekend preparing his closing statement. It’s very possible he hadn’t even heard about it.
Very dirty tactics by Blackwell.
Cahill once again showing how weak he is.
Judge Cahill very unhappy with Maxine Waters. I think she warrants impeachment and removal from office.
The judge should have declared a mistrial and sent the state police to arrest Waters for threatening the jury
She is untouchable,.. Didn’t you get the memo?
She warrants federal civil veil rights charges, pretty much all of them.
When will the jury begun their deliberations? Today? Tomorrow morning?
30 mins ago.
This was a long day for these jurors, and only a 30 minute luch break. I bet they are worn out for now, So, my WAG is, since the jury got the case at about 4:30 local time, that the bailiff will see them to their hotel, get them settled in, and then they will have dinner, after which they may convene and elect a foreman, but their actual consideration of the evidence won’t start until tomorrow morning.
I was thinking along those lines, but was not sure.
General question: how does the jury select a foreman?
I have only been on one jury, but in our case, someone asked out loud who was willing to be the chair, and a couple people offered. Then one deferred to the other, who served as our foreman. (As it happened, she was a youngish middle-school teacher, so adept at keeping order!! I guess adult jurors were a lot easier to preside over than adolescents.)
She kicked things off by asking each juror in order around the table to share our initial impresssions without interruption or comment from others, before we dug into the instructions. Fascinating experience.
Thank you. I have always thought that if I were chosen foreman, I would do the same thing as she did: initial thoughts, and no interruptions.
The case belongs to them now, I thought it was the decision of the jurors when they start deliberating, the trial I sat on as a juror was that way.
I think you are correct — the jurors themselves decide how to run their own show. They may want to deliberate tonight or decide to start tomorrow. If they have been following the judge’s instructions not to discuss the case until it is given to them for deliberations, this is the first opportunity they have had to hear how each other may have sized up the case so far. Perhaps even a secret straw vote to see where things are starting out.
Cahill: I’ll grant you Waters may have given you something on appeal to reverse all of this.
Giving the jury an out? Appease the mobs with a guilty verdict even if you think him not guilty . . . because this can all be thrown out later when you and your families are safe. I hope that’s not it, playing such games with a man’s life would be evil, but as you say, wow.
Blackwell lied in the rebuttal. Tobin did not say the oxygenation was 98% after resuscitation but that still showed CO was low as it couldn’t be displaced that quickly.
He just said it was 98%.
“Nelson: And now US representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this case.
Cahill: I’ll grant you Waters may have given you something on appeal to reverse all of this. … I’m aware of media reports, that Waters was talking specifically about this trial, unacceptability of anything but guilty, otherwise more violence. Abhorrent. ”
When was that?
All in all, Nelson was extremely honest. Even the 98% oxygen line he could have used, he instead chose to admit how intellectually dishonest such an argument would be. Aside from some small things here and there, his characterization of the evidence of the state’s case was accurate.
On the other hand, I’m frankly shocked at how dishonest the prosecution was and how dishonest their experts were. The state routinely mischaracterized testimony, used deceptive video clips and screenshot sometimes to the point where the screenshot was totally disconnected from the argument. For example, the screenshot Tobin used with the knuckles where he claimed Floyd was desperately trying to get oxygen was taken only 15 seconds after he went to the ground! And the snapshot where his foot wasn’t on the ground literally lasted for a millisecond and didn’t at all imply all of his weight was on Floyd.
Considering how dishonest the prosecution’s case was, if they get away with this I’ll be truly disappointed. They were flagrantly and shamefully dishonest. No regard for the truth.
I’m disgusted about their conduct, especially today.
If I was on a jury that alone would make me go not guilty.
Blackwell also did that misrepresentation with screenshots two other times the other day. Nelson called him on it then.
Apparently you are unaware of how lawyers behave in court. There is nothing unusual in this case. My apologies to the lawyers here but I have yet to see one behave honestly in court. Lawyers have one goal – to win. Honesty plays no part. If they can get away with lies they will lie every time.
Trials are nothing but dance contests. The jury eventually holds up score cards.
I’m sorry, I live in a civilised country. Lawyers wouldn’t just be disbarred for what Blackwell just did, they’d be prosecuted.
But, he won’t be either thing.
Absolutely agree, the State should not just lose on all counts, they need to be sanctioned for their own “shading” of the truth. Their withholding of discovery material is unforgiveable, they displayed a pattern of deceit that must be officially addressed.
All they ever had was emotion and biased testimony. The case was always overcharged for political purposes and any guilty verdict rendered will always have a significant political taint associated with it.
People are worried about violence if there is not a guilty verdict, but what happens if the jury unanimously convicts because they genuinely believe its the right thing to do?
Would that be seen by BLM as proof that intimidation works?
If the jurors decide to convict to show how much they care about justice for black people, thinking they’re ‘helping’, would that actually make things worse by encouraging intimidation tactics?
They’ll riot immediately if they don’t get what they want. They’ll riot in future cases if they get what they want now, because they’ll l know it works.
Either way, there will be blood,
Why does the prosecution get to play videos during closing? That seems stupid.
The defense played videos too.
Neither should, IMHO.
Still, they should have played the whole thing in its entirety (merged with various videos) AND work up a timeline before both side rest.
I don’t understand the comments made by Schleicher and Blackwell about something that is not in the law for them to prove when they intentionally ignored the natural consequences.
Still the state has no case but that won’t matter. It’s a political show/kangaroo trial.
first-degree (pre-meditated) murder … obviously one not even on the table for the jury’s consideration.
I have a question for the actual lawyers: Would it be a mistrial if the jury came back with a first degree ‘guilty’ verdict and acquitted him of the other charges? How would it impact the state re-bringing the charges? I know they can’t legally do that, but what if they decided to somehow play with the mob’s rules to try and somehow get out from under them?
Aside: Possibly leaning towards the farside and not for nothin’ BUT…. at about 04;46:11 of 09:00:30 that police squad car tire looks like it would merit Probable Cause for a traffic stop. Talk About the sad state of affairs and this whole #waroncops and #defundthepolice… smh…. Who would want to be a police officer in Democrat cities?