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LIVE Chauvin Trial Day 15: Closing Arguments and Jury Instructions

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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if they convict Chauvin, we will get more cops like the former detective now charged in the Austin shootings

if not worse

LongTimeReader | April 19, 2021 at 10:19 am

Chauvin is smaller than Nelson. He is a small man. Look how narrow his shoulders are in today’s suit.

they really expect a jury to understand all this ??

    StandardMurse in reply to REDACTED. | April 19, 2021 at 10:30 am

    I have been thinking that this whole time. I have read over the instructions multiple times and have listened to numerous commentaries on it, and I have no clue how the text gets interpreted based on what I have read and heard. These jurors have none of that benefit. I like to think I am not a complete idiot

Cahill went with the state’s jury instructions.

I would be really interested to hear what the basis for a successful appeal would be in cases where the jury was sequestered only during the deliberative part of the trial, or not sequestered at all. IOW, is this ever a fruitful appellate avenue for the defense?

I can’t think of a trial in recent memory where violence erupted – on this level – well in advance of the trial and threats of violence continued throughout the trial including against witnesses in the trial. If the events of this case don’t merit full sequestration, what trial would?

    LongTimeReader in reply to TargaGTS. | April 19, 2021 at 10:35 am

    If memory serves, one of the other officers and his attorney were assaulted by a mob either entering or leaving a court date and still the judge resisted moving the trial.

      I guess the problem is where would the Judge move it to????

        CCChair in reply to mailman. | April 19, 2021 at 1:50 pm

        I think rural Minnesota would have better odds of a fair trial.

        I’d be interested to see if it would be possible and lawful to enter into an agreement with a neighboring state (subject to the approval of the defendant) to try the case in their jurisdiction. Their courthouse, their veniremen, but MN law, judge, and attorneys.

        That, or dismiss with prejudice because the State of MN failed to provide a safe environment in which jurors could reasonably expected to do their duty, officials continued to make prejudicial statements/announcements, and the prosecutors engaged in unbelievable conduct regarding discovery throughout the trial–right up through the final day of testimony.

Larcenia? Like larceny? Terrible name….

So the State has decided to go close with irrelevant childhood anecdotes and lazy emotional appeals.

Well, at least they are consistent.

How long is each side allotted for closing argument?

Zero application of the law to the facts in this closing and a ton of lies by omission regarding the lawful arrest and lawful application of force to Floyd’s active resisting.

Prosecutor’s closing will never touch on any of the following:

1. Legality of the arrest

2. Lawfulness of application of force to an actively resisting suspect.

3. The fentanyl overdose.

4. The 90% pre-existing cardiac blockage.

The prosecution are shameless. Using emotion to remind the jury what will happen.

    dave magill in reply to Astrov. | April 19, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    When the law is on your side, pound on the law.
    When the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.
    When neither the law nor the facts are on your side, pound on the table.

Robert Clingan | April 19, 2021 at 10:48 am

>Exhibit 17
Wow I was joking that this would be their closing, but this is actually their closing.

Wow! Now shameless lies about Chauvin’s training and the Department use of force policy.

There is a quote from Orwell’s 1984 that describes the crime that people want to convict Derek Chauvin of, the people who claim to know that his expression evinces coldness, sadism, enjoyment:

“He did not know how long she had been looking at him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible that his features had not been perfectly under control. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.

What a dishonest closing argument by the State.

I wonder if there are any constraints on what can be said in the closing arguments? The prosecutor is stating as fact things that were not proven during the trial – reciting his version of the facts as he wishes them to be not what was proven by the state during the trial.

Likewise are there any constraints on what the Defense can say? For instance can Nelson say to the Jury that they have been forced to take part in a political show trial and that Chauvin should never have been arrested in the first place. Can Nelson humanize Chauvin by going into detail how his life has been destroyed by these bogus charges and that he is being lynched for simply doing his job by the book in accordance with his training?

    CCChair in reply to Keith_. | April 19, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    There are some rules that are case-specific and typically hashed out between counsel and the judge during the charge conference. (Sometimes these things are negotiated during trial. For example, in CA v. Charles Merritt, the defense was allowed a certain line of questioning on the condition that they didn’t argue failure to call logical witnesses in closing.)

    There are other, universal, rules in criminal closings. One pretty well-known one is “golden rule” statements–you can’t ask the jury to imagine themselves in any position in the case at issue. You can appeal to a general civic duty to deliver a just verdict, but you can’t appeal to the juror’s duty to do the right thing by convicting/exonerating the defendant. In general, you can do things like question the thoroughness of the investigation, but you can’t do things like impugn the motives of opposing counsel (which is unfortunate in this case).

    Counsel is not supposed to make gross misrepresentations of the facts (a lot of times you’ll hear counsel hedge this by saying “but rely on your own memory,” or something like that), though their job in closing argument is certainly to draw conclusions from facts that were presented.

    Unfortunately, I still posit that Mr Nelson’s most valuable asset in this trial is his goodwill with the jury, and he is hamstrung by a judge who doesn’t shoot down improper argument sua sponte despite, I’m sure, recognizing that Mr Nelson is in no position to object.

    sheldonkatz in reply to Keith_. | April 19, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    There are special rules for this case: the state can make sh&* up. The defense has to eat it.

This is the oddest closing from the state.

It has a bizarre cadence and is full of phrase repetition that somehow reminds me of “The Raven” (“As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.”)

Also, it makes me very curious about the jury. The emphasis on how convicting Mr. Chauvin is “pro-police” and (so far) no mention of the supposed racism. I’m wondering if perhaps they’ve learned throughout the trial that the jury isn’t receptive to a “send a message to the evil (white) police” message?

    TargaGTS in reply to CCChair. | April 19, 2021 at 11:16 am

    I thought it was really interesting that over the weekend, there was some polling that showed the people who were most worried that these ‘police brutality’ protests would have a depressive, UNWANTED effect on the number of police in their neighborhoods were people of color.

    Contrary to the narrative that is continually advanced by politicians and amplified by the media, it sure does seem that people who actually live in the areas most prone to violent crime don’t want less policing. They want more policing. Maybe the prosecution saw that polling.

    thad_the_man in reply to CCChair. | April 19, 2021 at 11:29 am

    More like Schiff’s argument when he began impeachment hearings., but slightly better polished.

Holy crap! Now the Prosecution is arguing that it is perfectly ok for an arrestee to refuse to get in the patrol car if you claim to have anxiety.

    LongTimeReader in reply to paralegal. | April 19, 2021 at 11:16 am

    He’s saying suspects can dictate their own arrests and officers are in the wrong for not allowing that. Insanity.

The Packetman | April 19, 2021 at 10:59 am


Floyd was the most cooperative suspect evah!

Can’t watch him. This travesty is an electric lynching

“After bystanders saw what they saw, shocking display of abuse of police power and a man murdered in front of them”

That’s what bystanders thought they saw, but it’s not what they actually saw.

What they actually saw was a man with severe heart disease, who’d just spent 10 minutes fighting with police, and who’d just swallowed a pocketful of fentanyl/meth speedballs, die while being restrained by cops.

The bystanders, like Chauvin, had no way of knowing about the terrible condition of Floyd’s heart, nor did they have any way of knowing that the massive amount of illegal drugs in Floyd’s system, combined with the strain of the exertion of fighting with the cops, would cause Floyd’s heart to stop when he was on the ground.

But it did, and Chauvin, who probably thought Floyd had just passed out from the drugs (as so many fentanyl addicts do, and as Floyd himself had done earlier in his car) kept Floyd restrained for his own protection and for Floyd’s protection, as he’d been trained to do.

Not murder, not manslaughter. Not even close.

Alternative reality in Alice in the Wonderland.

It amazes me that anyone would want to work for MPD after this trial.

“Floyd wasn’t resisting, he just wasn’t complying”

Did I hear this right?!?

So the police officers need to listen to resisting suspects and basically take their lead if they are anxious to go in the “small car” BUT suspects don’t have to listen to police officers. My husband is a police officer….this is NOT HOW THIS WORKS! I can’t tell you how many times my husband has been super late coming home because a suspect said they were having a heart attack while being arrested so they can be taken to the hospital instead of jail.

    Decee in reply to chrash2223. | April 19, 2021 at 11:38 am

    It’s unbelievable how he’s allowed to say these things.

    PGiddy in reply to chrash2223. | April 19, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    We know that every inner city suspect arrested now says “I can’t breathe”. They literally put it on T-shirts, so now you really don’t actually have to say it – just point.

“Let’s re-visit what happened before the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, and Floyd sitting in car in driver’s seat with two friends. Previously in Cup Foods, he was walking, talking, breathing, as alive as any person in this room.”

As alive as any person in this room . . . who happens to have a lethal dose of fentanyl in their bloodstream!

He conveniently left out the part where Floyd, in the car with his friends outside Cup Foods, passes out from the fentanyl OD and becomes so unarousable that his lady friend in the car had to call her daughter for a ride home.

How many people in that court room are so full of fentanyl that they are going to pass out from the drug? Because that’s the great condition that “walking, talking, alive” Floyd was in just before the cops arrived.

I’m not a legal scholar or anything but are closing arguments by the prosecution usually this bad, using only emotion instead of facts or with the lawyer joking about the jury having free parking and free lunch?

    CCChair in reply to chrash2223. | April 19, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    The best prosecutors offer closings that use the facts to piece together the whole story, while appealing to a sense of justice, and maybe even a little emotion. (AZ v. Jodi Arias; SC v. Timothy Jones, Jr.; MA v. Philip Chism are all good examples.)

The states seems to really like Dr. Tobin.

I’m reminded of Kelly Ann Conway’s comment about “alternative facts.”

For the record, Dr. Lucky Charms was a crackpot.

Here we go with Dr. Rich’s claim that fentanyl toxicity and 90% cardiac blockage are medical advantages.

    CalmMantis in reply to paralegal. | April 19, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Yeah, he was a quack looking for his 15 minutes of fame. I’m sure he’s working on a book deal right now.

    Observer in reply to paralegal. | April 19, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Yep, high blood pressure is good for you! It makes your heart stronger! And 90% and 75% proximal occlusion of your main coronary arteries is nothing to worry about! We should all hope to have such blockages! Our hearts would last forever!

    Char Char Binks in reply to paralegal. | April 19, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    But the other doctor was South African, so it would be racist to believe him.

Yawn. Sick of listening already, he’s not saying anything!

Does whoever took that knee picture (EMT firefighter woke-girl?) get royalties every time that picture is used yet?

You want to convict someone against his best possible defense, notsome mediocre defense. Otherwise it’s no longer a conviction but just a procedure.

Is this a comedy show or something?

I can’t take this guy seriously. So many lies. It seems like he is being allowed to say whatever he likes?

I’ll bet the people of Minneapolis are relieved to know the DA’s office doesn’t view counterfeiting as a legitimate or serious crime and if you don’t feel like getting in the back of a police vehicle, they should just let you go home.

    lurker9876 in reply to Sanddog. | April 19, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Hard to listen to the state’s closing arguments. Blackwell is certainly to be worse than Schleicher.

    I looked at the elements of these charges and cannot check most of them except that GF died. That is the only thing that I can check. Everything else were not proved by the state beyond reasonable doubt.

    Not sure Nelson’s closing arguments will reset the reality. Let me know when Nelson goes up with his closing argument.

StandardMurse | April 19, 2021 at 11:43 am

So now I am seeing the compounding of the testimony whereby the state created reasonable doubt but it was to hit every possible angle of cause of death that fit their case. Quite the strategy.

“Not required to believe amazing coincidence that even though walking and talking, breathing, that he chose THAT moment to die of heart disease”

What more likely moment to die of his severe heart disease than that one?

Just minutes earlier Floyd had swallowed a pocketful of speedballs, and then he’d spent 10 minutes fighting with the cops. Floyd’s severely-diseased heart was going to fail at some point, it was just a question of when. And Floyd made the “when” moment much more likely when he added the meth and the adrenaline to the mix.

It wasn’t an “amazing coincidence” that Floyd died when he did. It was entirely predictable. If another middle-aged man with very high blood pressure and 90% and 75% blocked arteries in his heart decided to swallow some meth and then run around the block, would anybody say it was an “amazing coincidence” if he dropped dead of heart failure at that moment? Of course not. We’d say that was a really stupid thing for somebody in his condition to do.

    JaneDoh in reply to Observer. | April 19, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    Yeah, I find that to be a bizarre line of argument. I know the jury is supposed to stick to the evidence presented in court, but I’d wager a few of them know someone who has done just that–talking to their family one minute, drops dead in the shower of a cardiac event a minute later. Add in the drugs, the panic, and the struggle, and it’s not hard at all to imagine.

    Just last week I was talking to someone who was telling me about a person who had OD’d in her place of work a couple of days before. The story was not being told in the context of the Floyd case, but I was struck by the similarities. The person’s “friends” lied about what was going on, resulting in a delay of appropriate care, and the person’s heart suddenly stopped (sounds similar to the defense’s theory, no?).

Midfiaudiophile | April 19, 2021 at 11:47 am

I’m surprised the State doesn’t realize that, when the entirety of their case revolves around the difference between “threat” and “risk”, they should avoid using the word “risk” in unguarded manner in their closing statement.

Is counsel lying during closing grounds for overturning a guilty verdict?

    David Ked in reply to Grey_Man. | April 19, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    In general, attorney misconduct in closing is grounds. But 99% of time other side must object at the time.

Is defense even allowed objections during closing args? I guess we will find out, prosecution will object to the defense having closing arguements.

If defense does not bring up the very obvious issue of the prosecution claiming GF died from lack of oxygen, yet also saying he had 98% oxygen levels in his blood to fight the exhaust possibility he should be disbarred.

    Rocinante123 in reply to Chewbacca. | April 19, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    He did

    Char Char Binks in reply to Chewbacca. | April 19, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    But the defense brought up CO in the first place, not only raising unreasonable doubt, but making it seem like Chauvin gassed floyd to death, and allowing the state expert to testify again and elaborate.

    Fowler fouled up.

Boy that slide certainly illustrates ‘cumulative’ testimony well. This judge is a pile of trash

So who’s up for some hooping today? Anyone want to go hooping with me? Let’s all go hooping everybody.

    REDACTED in reply to BillyHW. | April 19, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    hooping works.. Cause I traveled a lot, my sis prescribed for me some anti food poisoning suppositories. Knock you out like a light

    Char Char Binks in reply to BillyHW. | April 19, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I’m all about hoopin’, and joggin’. I’ll jog over and we’ll do some hoopin’, then I’ll jog back, and maybe hoop some more.

    sheldonkatz in reply to BillyHW. | April 19, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    This trial added a useful word to my vocabulary.

If the prosecuting attorney goes much longer, he’s going to bore the jury to death, forcing a mistrial.

He finally shut the hell up!

If GF would have got in the cruiser in the same manner that had just previously got in his own car , NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED

    lurker9876 in reply to REDACTED. | April 19, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Well, for starters, he should have learned to avoid illegal drugs a long time ago.

    Schleicher is finally done but after the recess, will Blackwell be next? I hope not!!

    All we will hear from Blackwell is 9-29.

      REDACTED in reply to lurker9876. | April 19, 2021 at 12:18 pm

      I thought they only were allowed one person to speak

        Keith_ in reply to REDACTED. | April 19, 2021 at 12:31 pm

        That’s what I thought – only one person – Blackwell – presenting the opening statement so only one should be allowed to present the closing statement for the state. If Blackwell gives another closing that will be unfair in the extreme since he will just be rehashing what his colleague said. The state gets to do a rebuttal which I suspect Blackwell will handle

    BigFrank1979 in reply to REDACTED. | April 19, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    he’s claustraphobic but he was just sitting in his own car minutes before. what a crock of shit

CNN just said the state did a great job.
this script was written 3 months ago

If I was a juror I’d be very annoyed to be told how I thought or felt. I didn’t like his aggressiveness either.

I thought the judge made a ruling that he was to not be called the defendant? Yet this guy must have said it 100 times.

The prosecution gets to have 2 closing arguments, to the defense’s one? Is that normal?

    paralegal in reply to Kreemerz. | April 19, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Yes. Prosecution gets a rebuttal argument because they have the burden of proof.

    BillD in reply to Kreemerz. | April 19, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Yes – because the prosecution’s burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) is higher. Whether that is the case here is debatable.

    thad_the_man in reply to Kreemerz. | April 19, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    Yes. That’s normal. Total time is the same for both sides. The two prosecutor arguments can’t take longer then the defense

Listening to the prosecutor bloviate about Floyd almost made me gag. The way he kept calling the abusive bystanders “precious” was weird and annoying, and if he had called Floyd a “poor little baby” it wouldn’t have been much different from the way he actually talked.

    Jay Guevara in reply to stupid_dummy. | April 19, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Me too. Floyd was born at a very young age, and he cuddled with his mother, and was surrounded by people who loved. Then he was killed.

    Conveniently omitting the intervening career of crime, prison time, and drug use. Not worth mentioning, really.

If Chauvin is acquitted then the State its over for all four cops because there is no crime for the other three to have aided and abetted,

    CCChair in reply to paralegal. | April 19, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    If you watch the short non-chambers portion of the Charge Conference, you can hear the State mention something I’ve been wondering about ever since they moved to the “neck-area and back” framing of events: Officer Keung. They strongly suggest that they’re considering charging Keung as a principle for being the restraint on Mr. Floyd’s back, based on what their experts have said in this trial.

    (I wonder if they charge Keung with that, will they/can they charge Chauvin with aiding and abetting?)

      TargaGTS in reply to CCChair. | April 19, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      If Chauvin is found guilty or not guilty in this trial, double-jeopardy likely attaches foreclosing the state from charging him as an accessory to the same crime.

      Char Char Binks in reply to CCChair. | April 19, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      Keung made the mistake of not looking black enough to get the Noor treatment.

I felt like some dirty tactics were used in their closing. Hopefully a juror thinks that’s too.

the state spent over an hour, mostof it playing on emotion, and i would wager big money that the 9:29 video is part of the rebuttal

    Char Char Binks in reply to buck61. | April 19, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    A version of table pounding

    sheldonkatz in reply to buck61. | April 19, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Wait, he subdued him for 9:29 minutes? Wow, I never heard that before. Did the state ever bring that up? Or why its own effing EMT took so long to get there?

I still can’t figure out what the alleged underlying assault is supposed to be.

The section that he’s charged for that would lead to a felony murder conviction is §609.223 Sub 1 (“Whoever assaults another and inflicts substantial bodily harm”). The bodily harm can’t be the death.

So what is the “substantial bodily harm” that is not death? What contact did Mr. Chauvin cause that would independently count as Assault 3rd? (In particular, what contact did Mr. Chauvin cause that wasn’t justifiably connected to the lawful arrest of Mr. Floyd that caused Mr. Floyd’s death? Because I remember the State’s use of force experts saying all of it was justifiable except the last 3 minutes of restraint.)

    paralegal in reply to CCChair. | April 19, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Prosecution seemed to claim everything beyond the point Floyd passed out was an assault.

      CCChair in reply to paralegal. | April 19, 2021 at 1:40 pm

      I guess I don’t see how holding someone against the ground like that is assault 3rd. What was the specific substantial bodily harm, but not death, that Mr. Floyd incurred from the continued hold? He didn’t even have bruises, insofar as substantial bodily harm less than death goes.

      If a person (especially an officer effectuating an arrest) did what Mr. Chauvin did, but Mr. Floyd lived, would that really be chargeable as assault 3rd?

    Christopher B in reply to CCChair. | April 19, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    The felony murder charge has struck me as strange, too. I’m going off memory and not a lawyer but I read somewhere that most states write felony murder statues in such a way that the predicate felony can not be part of the same act that caused the death. It’s done that way for this exact situation so the prosecutor can’t bootstrap an assault that results in an otherwise accidental death (you insult me, I throw a punch at you and miss, you fall while dodging it, hit your head, and die) from manslaughter into murder. I could be off-base, and don’t know if Minnesota’s felony murder is written differently or has been modified by case law.

WAPO blacking out Nelson?

Curious how the jury is digesting the arguments.

We’ve all been watching AFB commentary and have cemented our conclusions (biased as they were at the onset) and the prosecutions arguments were really reaching IMO… but I’m not in that courthouse and I’m not a juror who would have passed the selection process.

    Midfiaudiophile in reply to Andy. | April 19, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    I think I might have had about 15% chance of passing jury selection process. I have an uncle who was a cop, but he was brass, not patrol, and I’ve never been particularly fond of that uncle (Also, not in Minneapolis/Minnesota). Also, I rate the opinions of experts highly, another point in my favor from prosecution’s perspective.

    I don’t think I could get past reasonable doubt on the use of force considerations. I do think that it’s possible that I could be convinced that my doubts about the cause of death are unreasonable (Unfortunately, the carbon monoxide theory might help the prosecution in that regard since prosecution can point at it as somewhat wacky).

    Oddly enough, the paraganglioma “10% tumor” thing hurts them more than I think they realize it does. I don’t think 90% sure is good enough to overcome reasonable doubt… and there’s a lot more areas of uncertainty than just that.

      If I could look into the mind of juror with minimal bias, I would guess that the inconsistencies of the prosecution and having witnesses (and prosecution) being caught in lies multiple instances would destroy all credibility. They may not be sophisticated enough to cipher the O2 and CO2 arguments, but those arguments become moot when they come after days of lies and get presented by some condescending aholes.

      Also- if I were a juror, the “guilty or burn it down” threats after weeks of testimony would galvanize me to give the middle finger to the non-law and order mob.

        Midfiaudiophile in reply to Andy. | April 19, 2021 at 2:54 pm

        Agreed on both points. Tobin’s “Extremely Rigorous Scientific Calculations Based on Extremely Rigorous Scientific Sciency Science” would have utterly enraged me (as would the efforts of jury intimidat0rs to make it impossible for me to fulfill my duty as a juror to avoid outside influences).

I hope this is not a typical state case in all 50 states (only exclusive to MN).

I cannot believe that the people of MN have to live with its laws and the way they handle the cases.

    Nope- a cop in Auburn Wa has been charged for shooting a guy on drugs tearing apart a c-store parking lot. Auburn is in the same county as Seattle, so the county prosecutor is elected by the anti-cop crowd and is little bitch to the states anti cop AG and governor.

    ironically the auburn officer’s name is “Nelson”

Talcum X aka Shaun King calling for riots of Chauvin is found not guilty.

“Now, if Derek Chauvin isn’t convicted, I expect all hell to break loose. And frankly, it should. Let’s take it day by day. And hope it doesn’t come to that”.

Love you all.


I’m very pessimistic that even a hung jury is possible. The level of intimidation is so high, the judge has given the prosecution so much leeway. Nelson is meeting an overwhelming force.

Good closing argument by Nelson.

I don’t remember its coming up in the trial, but was Floyd actually shot by a cop (or anyone) in the past? He kept saying something to the effect of “I got shot last time,” or “I got shot the same way,” and Shawanda told the officers that Floyd was behaving that way “because he’s been shot before.”

If I were a police officer and a person volunteered information that implied he had been shot by police before (which is how I interpreted Floyd’s words when I first heard them), would that not have been a factor in the need for additional restraint beyond handcuffs?

    Char Char Binks in reply to JaneDoh. | April 19, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    floyd was a chronic liar, and was trying to BS his way out of going to jail.

      I’ve noticed his autopsy didn’t mention an historic gunshot wound, and we’ve never seen a report or body cam footage from the incident where an officer allegedly shot him (and we know no one can keep a secret).

      What boggles my mind is that they are so dumb they actually think that will work.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | April 19, 2021 at 1:50 pm

The Twitterati are utterly convinced that the State’s case was a fantastic slam-dunk. Heh.

BigFrank1979 | April 19, 2021 at 1:54 pm

That fucking loud mouth shithead on the sidewalk in the video should have gotten his ass kicked. He walks on the scene ten minutes after floyd was fighting these officers. Plus, he wouldnt have said shit if the guy on the ground was white.

I feel very sorry for this PO

His wife left him, when he goes to prison they will kill him

I think I’ve come to the point I hate these people

I hate these people

No way the jury should ever not have been sequestered and their names and pictures circulated

No way this PO gets a fair trial in MN

    lurker9876 in reply to gonzotx. | April 19, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    I read that prisons have special wings exclusively for convicted police officers for their safety as long as they don’t make mistakes.

      CCChair in reply to lurker9876. | April 19, 2021 at 6:40 pm

      Often true, though there is still the concern about whether the COs will want to protect him. It’s pretty easy to “accidentally” let another group of inmates onto the yard early while the inmates in PC are having rec time.

Robert Clingan | April 19, 2021 at 2:23 pm

Nelson has been doing a VERY good job today, I was worried if he had enough ammo to make this work, but he clearly does. Excellent use of state witness testimony. Nelson hasn’t even had to disagree with anybody yet.

    he is using testimony from the states witnesses, not relying on his own paid witnesses to this point ( lunch break), also pointing out witness bias

I think Nelson is really nailing the closing. Anyone disagree?

    KPOM1 in reply to Mike Wilson. | April 19, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    A Defense Attorney who has posted to The Federalist as “Caroline Court” thinks Nelson is rambling and should have been more succinct. She’s a frequent Twitter poster @beyondreasdoubt.

      lurker9876 in reply to KPOM1. | April 19, 2021 at 3:40 pm

      I don’t think Nelson was rambling. I thought Schleicher was. 😀 His argument was weak and pointless with no proof beyond reasonable doubt.

      But then the MSM loved Schliecher.

      anglophones in reply to KPOM1. | April 19, 2021 at 5:39 pm

      I agree with this, unfortunately. I sat through it thinking “it’s nice and all but nobody with a sub-105 IQ is following this”. He needed more moments where he took a simple point and really hammered it home. His diction was surprisingly weak and disjointed as well. If he weren’t a lawyer, he sure as hell wouldn’t be a public speaker. There were parts where he undermined his own points with stutters, mistakes or unnatural pauses in the flow of his speech.

      (Not that I want to criticise the guy. His balls are god-sized. And he had to fight the case 14 on 1 with everything possible going against him. I just think he could’ve done better in closing and wish he had..)

        anglophones in reply to anglophones. | April 19, 2021 at 6:19 pm

        Edit addition: Also there’s a reason that appeals to emotion are so common: they (often) work. Nelson’s closing was very light on pathos. I’m not necessarily saying he should’ve leant into it much more, though, because it may have come across as crass under the circumstances.

The Law & Crime YouTube livestream I was watching just froze, and when I reloaded the page, it was age-restricted.

In the middle of the defense closing.

Same thing happened during opening statements.


stupid_dummy | April 19, 2021 at 2:55 pm

Nelson’s defense is incredibly thorough and compelling – leaves absolutely no stone unturned. If I were a juror, I don’t think I could vote to convict. It was really smart of Nelson to get ahead of the prosecution by playing nearly the entire video and walking through his interpretation of it.

Has Cahill crapped himself yet? Its been a couple hours since he got a poo break

It sounds like Nelson is doing a good job. I like the notion of pre-empting the use of the video as part of the defense. It leaves the Prosecution with a tough choice.

WOOOWW, Cahill interrupting a closing argument.. is this normal?

    KPOM1 in reply to Smooth23. | April 19, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    It’s unusual for a closing statement to go on this long.

      Smooth23 in reply to KPOM1. | April 19, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      Fair comment.

      NOTIMPORTANT in reply to KPOM1. | April 19, 2021 at 3:18 pm

      I think given the brevity of defense’s case in chief, this is expected. Nelson I guess didn’t feel the need to add additional testimony that what his few witnesses did and the state’s witnesses did. That means he’s planning on connecting the dots himself in closing.

      I would expect state’s rebuttal to be longer than their closing.

        lurker9876 in reply to NOTIMPORTANT. | April 19, 2021 at 3:23 pm

        It had been stated that the defense lawyer is restricted to questioning the witnesses called by the state. But now I see that Nelson has no restrictions on presenting his argument during closing.

        I suppose that Blackwell will provide the rebut but there is no way that he can destroy Nelson’s argument but make something out of air.

        I still don’t feel confident about the jury, though.

If the prosecution gets a final rebuttal, so should the defence.

stupid_dummy | April 19, 2021 at 3:16 pm

I don’t know if it was a great idea for Nelson to flatly ridicule the prosecution’s medical witnesses for denying that Floyd’s death had anything to do with the lethal dose of opiates in his body, but I did enjoy it. There may be no better way to handle corrupt witnesses.

    Keith_ in reply to stupid_dummy. | April 19, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I think it was brilliant for Nelson to call out the preposterous testimony of the “experts” – it makes clear to the jurors that the “experts” deliberately tried to mislead them and any and everything they testified to can be dismissed.

Nelson is nailing it so far! He convincingly argued that the use of force was not excessive and hence not illegal. Having proven that Chauvin was not committing a felony all of the charges disappear even if you accept the state contention that Chauvin actions were the sole cause of Floyds death and Nelson is doing a good job of destroying that contention.

Midfiaudiophile | April 19, 2021 at 3:33 pm

I’d be interested in reading Mr. Branca’s commentary on the order of the closing argument. Part of me thinks it would work better in reverse, attacking medical testimony and then asking how the heck a beat cop was supposed to figure any of that out when attempting to apprehend his subject, but on the other hand, the prosecution is going to be forced to focus a lot of its attention, due to recency, on defending the indefensible (ie. the fact that so many “medical experts” claimed that when someone with every comorbidity imaginable died, the primary cause of death was the officer restraining him).

Watching ABC coverage – they interviewed Attorney General Garland *today* and while not specifically addressing the trial – Garland said “America has a racism problem in policing” and “we have some work to do”

Disgusting that an Attorney General would weigh in on a trial and try to put his hand on the scale of justice. Garland is an evil person.

    BillyHW in reply to Keith_. | April 19, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    America has a race problem in crime-ing.

      Observer in reply to BillyHW. | April 19, 2021 at 5:23 pm

      Yep. Government crime statistics show that white suspects get shot by cops at a slightly higher rate than black suspects, despite the fact that blacks engage in far more crimes, and far more violent crimes, in the U.S. than whites do. But CNN and Twitter don’t go into a 24/7 frenzy when a white person gets shot or killed by cops. The media (including social media) simply ignore cop-caused white deaths, which causes the massive distortion in people’s perception that we’re currently facing.

      And again, there was never a shred of evidence in this case that anything the cops did, or didn’t do, was motivated by racial animus.

    Midfiaudiophile in reply to Keith_. | April 19, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    To be fair, GOP Senator Tim Scott said something similar to what you report from Garland, but months before this trial even started.

My apologies if this has already been asked. Thoughts on Chauvin not wearing a mask? I’m sure it was an instruction from Nelson, and it doesn’t ruffle my feathers one but (mask or no mask – not a hill I’m going to die on) but is it a good instruction?

    CCChair in reply to Jdiggity. | April 19, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    My suspicion is that Nelson has noticed in working with him over time that his face always looks like it did when he was looking at the bystander’s cameras. It’s not a special smug evil face. So maybe he wants the jury to have an opportunity to see that?

Mr. Branca, Can you please address what the consequences of a hung jury would mean here? Obviously there’s a long way to go before getting there, but I believe it to be the most likely outcome.

    Midfiaudiophile in reply to Smooth23. | April 19, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    I’m curious what happens to the union’s responsibility to pay for defense if there’s a hung jury and the state wants another bite at the apple, as well. Is his $1MM fund already depleted? Or does it replenish for the next trial?

      broomhandle in reply to Midfiaudiophile. | April 19, 2021 at 9:26 pm

      I am curious to know if a crowd-funding attempt would provide enough funds for Chauvin to buy an adequate defense. I suppose it would be taken down before we ever found out.

Did they sabotage Nelson’s PowerPoint? Wouldn’t surprise me.

Schleicher’s close was mediocre, it boiled down to believe your eyes, what you saw in the 9 minutes and 29 seconds (which will make up the bulk of Blackwell’s expected rebuttal). All of his medical expert testimony was shown to be of little value when Nelson explained how they had all ignored what the autopsy said. As he stated, it’s not reasonable or consistent with common sense that none of the medical issues or toxicology factored into GF’s death. That should be very easy for the jury to understand.

Also, I think Nelson handled the use of force question very well too, particularly using the State’s own witness, (who trained DC) Lt. Mercil.

I believe Nelson’s close was sufficient to bring an acquittal on all charges, but that is only if the jury focuses on the law alone and not the political consequences of their verdict. That’s the crux of the case, will the Law prevail or will the Mob have their way?

    broomhandle in reply to dji9424. | April 19, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Like many of us I fear the latter. And I fear what that means. It is a turning point where the left will see a very large expansion in their power regardless of the law.

I wonder if the jury is able to view written transcripts or video of closing arguments? Or just memory.

The prosecution has kept their knee on Chauvin’s neck for two weeks. Unreasonable use of rhetoric.

Wait,, is Cahill now coaching the prosecution on how to argue their rebuttal??

“If the attorneys make statements that differ from the law as I state it to you, disregard it. Mr. Blackwell?” 😂

NOTIMPORTANT | April 19, 2021 at 4:10 pm

Blackwell: all that matters is you go with the assumptions and prejudices you came in with before any evidence was presented. That’s common sense!

Man, I really dislike that guy.

    Belisarius in reply to NOTIMPORTANT. | April 19, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Yes. I really dislike all of the prosecution, but particularly Blackwell with his fake attempts at “man of the people” singsongy twang talk, makes me cringe in disgust. It’s like Hillary Clinton at Selma, Alabama.

      thad_the_man in reply to Belisarius. | April 19, 2021 at 4:34 pm

      He tries to come across as Johnny Cochran, but is closer to Don King.

      PS: I like Don King, but anyone shaking hands with him should count the ring on their finger afterwards.

    LongTimeReader in reply to NOTIMPORTANT. | April 19, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    I harbor a visceral dislike for him. I don’t mind Schleiter.

    stupid_dummy in reply to NOTIMPORTANT. | April 19, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    He’s not only *admitting* that the jury came in with preconceived ideas about what happened, he’s *embracing* it. Lol.

    I just read that the prosecutor’s closing statement/argument included a statement that there is no such thing as “super human strength.” Wikipedia distinguishes between that (which it asserts is fictional or mythical) and “hysterical” or “unexpected” strength (which it asserts is real).

    I had believed that “super human” strength is traditionally exemplified by people lifting a vehicle off someone’s body and did not think it was fictional or mythical.

    Were I a juror, the prosecutor’s statement, if it did not distinguish super human from hysterical or unexpected strength, would have made me question the veracity of the prosecutor.

    Query whether that misleading factual statement was improper for closing.

Blackwell is extremely dishonest.

    Midfiaudiophile in reply to Chewbacca. | April 19, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    I really hope that Blackwell learns that the type of dishonest tactics that work in a defense case to manufacture reasonable doubt cannot be used by prosecution to manufacture proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

      CalmMantis in reply to Midfiaudiophile. | April 19, 2021 at 6:12 pm

      I would be surprised to see Mr. Blackwell running for some office in MN soon given how media has fawned over him during the entire trial. His dishonest tactics will serve him well as a public servant.

LongTimeReader | April 19, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Subdual, restraint and compression, drink! Again!

    LongTimeReader in reply to LongTimeReader. | April 19, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    If I was on the jury, I would have stopped listening to anything else Blackwell says just so I could keep track of how many times he said S,R&C. Probably roll my eyes. It’s obnoxious. Patronizing.

thad_the_man | April 19, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Half the time Blackwell is saying Nelson is lying that does’t seem to be good argument.

Big breaking news in another major legal story!

Washington’s chief medical examiner tells the Washington Post that Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after defending the Capitol on Jan. 6, suffered two strokes and that there was no evidence of an adverse reaction to the chemical irritants sprayed at him. Officer died from natural causes

    CCChair in reply to Keith_. | April 19, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Unreal. It only took WaPo until today to report what I learned from another outlet (who had a source in the hospital) on Jan 6th/7th.

stupid_dummy | April 19, 2021 at 4:22 pm

Blackwell is poisoning the well by misrepresenting Nelson’s argument. Nelson didn’t say that Floyd’s death was *unrelated* to his arrest – just that it wasn’t caused by Chauvin’s restraint itself. Floyd clearly freaked out, resisted, and worked himself up. In theory, that could have been just enough to push him over the edge. That’s the alternate theory, and it’s perfectly plausible.

ugottabekiddinme | April 19, 2021 at 4:25 pm

I understand because the prosecution has the burden, it gets the last word. But it always seems that prosecutors, in what is supposed to be rebuttal of the defense closing, can range far afield from that, make various claims, and there’s nothing the defense can do about it.

If I were on this jury, it would rub me the wrong way that the State has all these different prosecutors splitting the work, while Mr. Nelson is a one man operation. It would also annoy me that two different people gave closing arguments for the State.

Late to viewing the comments but did Nelson put Maxine Waters call to violence and the attack on the witness home on record? Did Nelson request a mistrial.?

amazing that the second rebuttal comes up, technology is working again.

Did the prosecution photoshop out the pill in Floyd’s mouth when showing his “fear”?

AnAdultInDiapers | April 19, 2021 at 4:31 pm

Ok, Blackwell is now annoying me.

“We’ve heard Chauvin was concerned. Does this look like the face of someone in fear?”

No, it looks like the face of someone that’s concerned. Yes, he had the bullets, the gun, the mace, the badge AND HE WAS STILL CONCERNED.

This is utter propaganda. If I was on the jury I’d be listening to this and thinking, “You had no case. You can’t win this on facts, you’re trying to win this on emotion.”

Is there a single person on this planet who would find the argument compelling that police should stop and listen and accept offers of help from every random person who stops by to yell “I’m going to fuck your shit up brah”?

I’ve head the State discuss failure to render aid ad nauseum. But nothing from either side, or the judge, about whether or not that’s unlawful conduct.