Defense Rests Case; Chauvin Does Not Testify
For the first time in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, he spoke in the courtroom. It was to officially declare that he was not testifying, so it’s also the only time he’ll speak until the trial concludes.
Although it had been expected that defense attorney Eric Nelson would call an expert in toxicology to further blame Floyd’s death on drug use, the day began with Nelson resting his case, followed by Chauvin’s official statement invoking his 5th Amendment right to not testify. Chauvin seemed awkward as he spoke into a handheld microphone stating, for the record, that he was not going to testify and that this was his choice. Both Nelson and Judge Peter Cahill asked him perfunctory prompting questions to ensure that his decision not to testify was entered into the court record properly, indicating that Chauvin and Nelson had discussed whether or not to testify multiple times, including last night, and that it was Chauvin’s decision (not Nelson’s) to not testify.
The second order of court business was the prosecution recalling pulminologist Dr. Martin Tobin to rebut yesterday’s testimony from Dr. David Fowler. Specifically, Fowler had asserted that carbon monoxide poisoning could have contributed to Floyd’s death, which Tobin refuted under direct examination.
What was not allowed, however, was data from testing performed on Floyd that would have definitively disproven Fowler’s theory. Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, after watching Fowler’s testimony, actually reached out to the prosecution last night and informed them that the data existed. Judge Cahill ruled that since the prosecution knew that Nelson was going to be introducing the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning for months, they should have been more diligent to determine if the data about Floyd’s carbon monoxide levels existed.
Judge Cahill adjourned, sending the jury home at 11:00 AM. Court will be adjourned until Monday, when the prosecution and defense present their closing arguments.