Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin on Thursday waived his right to testify to the jury about his part in the deadly arrest last May of George Floyd as both sides rested their cases at his murder trial, the most high-profile police misconduct case in decades.
[DEREK CHAUVIN]: “I will invoke my fifth amendment privilege today….” Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd last May, on Thursday waived his right to testify in his defense as both sides rested their cases at his murder trial, the most high-profile police misconduct case in decades.
The moment showcased Chauvin’s most extensive remarks since his trial began.
[JUDGE PETER CAHILL, OFF CAMERA]: “Has anyone promised you anything or threatened you in any way to keep you from testifying?” [CHAUVIN]: “No promises or threats, your honor.” [JUDGE CAHILL, OFF CAMERA]: “Do you feel that your decision not to testify is a voluntary one on your behalf?” [CHAUVIN]: “Yes it is.” Chauvin’s defense, which began presenting their case earlier this week, called witnesses including former Maryland chief medical examiner Dr. David Fowler, who said Floyd - whose death was ruled a homicide at the hands of the police - really died of heart disease, and that the exhaust fumes of the adjacent police car may have also poisoned him.
Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who testified as an expert witness for the prosecution, returned to the stand on Thursday in an effort to undermine Fowler's testimony about carbon monoxide poisoning.
[PROSECUTOR JERRY BLACKWELL]: “Do you agree with that proposition?” [DR. MARTIN TOBIN]: “No, I do not.” Tobin told jurors that previously shared data showed that the level of carbon monoxide in Floyd’s blood was (quote) "within the normal range." Prior to his testimony, prosecutors said they had been contacted by the Hennepin County chief medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Floyd to disclose previously unpublished test results that showed normal carbon monoxide levels in Floyd's blood.
But Judge Cahill denied the request to admit the results as new evidence, saying it was too last-minute in a way that was prejudicial to Chauvin, and warned against Tobin even mentioning it.
[JUDGE CAHILL]: “If he even hints that there are test results that the jury hasn’t heard about, it’s going to be a mistrial.” Judge Cahill told jurors they would hear closing arguments on Monday before receiving the case for deliberations.
They will be sequestered at a hotel in a Minneapolis, whose downtown is filled with National Guard troops and boarded-up windows, preparing for potential unrest.
The Judge even did his best to advise jurors on how much clothing to pack: “If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short.” Chauvin has pled not guilty to second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter charges.