Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0225 GMT (1025 HKT) April 15, 2021
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11:39 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Judge: Friend who was in Floyd's car the day he died will not testify 

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, left, and Morries Hall
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, left, and Morries Hall Court TV/Pool/AP

The judge in the Derek Chauvin trial ruled that Morries Hall, who was in the car with George Floyd when police first confronted him May 25, 2020, will not testify in the case.

At a hearing this morning, Hall appeared and invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself by testifying. Asked by the judge if he would be willing to answer questions that were pre-submitted to the court if he were put under oath, Hall said, "No, I am not" because "I'm fearful of criminal charges."

Before Hall spoke in court, his attorney addressed the court arguing how her client could expose himself to criminal charges if he took the stand in the Chauvin trial.

The judge said that he had found that Hall has "a complete fifth amendment privilege here" and ruled to quash a subpoena by the defense for Hall's testimony.

Court is set to resume at 10:30 a.m. ET when the defense is expected to call its next witness.

Morries Hall speaks at the hearing: 

10:16 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Judge denies defense motion to acquit Derek Chauvin

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper


Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill rejected a routine defense motion on Wednesday to acquit former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.  

Attorney Eric Nelson argued prosecutors had not proven their case, even under the legal standard of “the light most favorable to the state” and asked the judge to end the trial and find Chauvin not guilty. 

“The state has essentially introduced, doubt, in the context of providing multiple opinions from multiple experts, all of which seem to contradict each other. And for that reason we would ask the state to, or excuse me, ask the court to grant the Motion for Judgment of acquittal,” Nelson told Judge Cahill.  

The state opposed the motion:

“There's no question that the witnesses who have testified all opined that the defendant use of force was subjectively unreasonable. He was not trained to do this by the Minneapolis Police Department. He did not follow policy. He did not follow a procedure, and the force that he exercised was unnecessary under the circumstances.”
9:27 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

These are the 3 main arguments by the defense

From CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

Defense attorney Eric Nelson speaks during court proceedings on Tuesday, April 13.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson speaks during court proceedings on Tuesday, April 13. Court TV/Pool/AP

The defense will continue presenting its witnesses today during the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson has not explicitly laid out who will testify, but the witnesses are likely to further the broad themes of his case to acquit Chauvin.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

In opening statements and cross-examinations, Nelson has focused on three main arguments:

  • George Floyd died of drug and health problems
  • Chauvin's use of force was ugly but appropriate
  • The crowd of bystanders became hostile and distracted Chauvin from taking care of Floyd

Witnesses called by the prosecution have contested each of those theories — but it will be up to the jury to ultimately decide.

While the trial has focused on Chauvin and Floyd, the societal stakes of the high-profile case were made vividly clear when police shot and killed a Black man Sunday in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.

In light of the unrest, Nelson asked the court to question jurors further and sequester them for the rest of the trial. Judge Cahill rejected the request and said he plans to fully sequester the jury for deliberations next week. Jurors in the trial are currently partially sequestered, meaning they are released to go home each day.

8:41 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Here's what we know about the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial

From CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

The jury in Derek Chauvin's trial has heard from multiple witnesses so far, and they've been shown bystander and police footage of George Floyd's final moments. 

If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The charges are to be considered separate, so Chauvin could be convicted of all, some or none of them.

While the jurors are unnamed and not seen on camera, we do know basic details about them.

Here's what we know about the jury:

  • Five men and nine women were chosen to serve on the jury during the trial in Minneapolis. 
  • Of the 14 jurors, eight are White, four are Black and two are mixed race, according to how the court says the jurors identified themselves.
  • The jury selection process began March 9 at the Hennepin County Government Center and wrapped up exactly two weeks later. 
  • The panel is made up of 12 jurors and two alternates, Judge Peter Cahill said.
  • The jurors all come from Hennepin County, which is demographically about 74% White and 14% Black, according to census data.
  • The prospective jurors previously completed a 16-page questionnaire that asked for their personal thoughts on Black Lives Matter, policing and other topics.
  • In court, each person was sworn in and then questioned one-by-one in a process known as voir dire. The juror's name, address and other information are kept anonymous.
  • Eric Nelson questioned the prospective jurors for the defense, while Steve Schleicher questioned them for the prosecution.

Read more about about the jury here.

8:16 a.m. ET, April 14, 2021

The Chauvin trial resumes this morning. Here's what happened yesterday in court.

It is day 13 of testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged in the death of George Floyd.

The defense's portion of the trial will continue today.

If you're just reading in, here's a recap of what happened yesterday in court:

Retired Minneapolis Police officer: The defense's first witness was retired Minneapolis Police officer Scott Creighton who testified about an arrest involving George Floyd in 2019. The judge allowed the testimony "solely for the limited purpose of showing the effects the ingestion of opioids may or may not have had on the physical well-being of George Floyd."

Body-camera footage showed that Floyd was not complying with officer's orders to put his hand on the dashboard of the car. In the video you can hear Floyd saying he didn't want to get shot. Creighton testified that the situation "escalated real quick."

Retired paramedic: The next witness was retired paramedic Michelle Monseng who treated Floyd after he was taken into custody in 2019. She told the defense that Floyd told her he took an opioid every 20 minutes, "and then another one as the officer came up.” She told defense lawyer Eric Nelson that Floyd was upset and confused.

During cross-examination, Monseng said Floyd was able to walk, stand up and was alert. She said he didn't stop breathing and didn't go into cardiac arrest.

George Floyd's friend: Shawanda Hill was subpoenaed by the defense to testify. She was in the back seat of the car with Floyd at Cup Foods. She testified that he was "happy, normal, talking, alert" when she saw him.

She said Floyd fell asleep while they were sitting in the car. Hill said that she was able to wake him up but then he nodded off again. She said that she was able to wake him up a second time when police approached the vehicle, saying he instantly grabbed the wheel and said "please, please, don't kill me! Don't shoot me!"

Minneapolis Park Police officer: Peter Chang was on duty and responded to a call at Cup Foods to assist officers. He told the jury that bystanders on the sidewalk became "very aggressive" during the incident and that he was concerned for the officers' safety.

The defense played body-camera footage from Chang. It showed by standing by Floyd's car around the corner from the location where Floyd was being taken into custody. During cross-examination, Chang testified that while he was at Floyd's car, he could no longer see what was going on.

Minneapolis Police Department's medical support trainer: The defense called Minneapolis Police officer Nicole MacKenzie who is the medical support coordinator for the department. She previously testified as a witness for the prosecution.

She said one of the officers at the scene, Thomas Lane, was trained to detect a condition called "excited delirium." During cross-examination she testified that officers are told to roll suspects on their side because that condition can compromise breathing.

Use-of-force expert: Barry Brodd, a former police officer and use-of-force expert, was the last witness of the day. He testified that Chauvin's actions were "justified" and that it was not a use of deadly force.

Brodd is being retained by defense attorney Eric Nelson. He has been paid for his work on the case, he testified. 

On Monday, the prosecution's use-of-force expert testified that Chauvin's actions represented deadly force and were unreasonable.

During cross-examination, Brodd said Chauvin would have known that Floyd was not responsive and was not resisting. He said he heard another officer say that Floyd did not have a pulse while Chauvin was on top of him. Brodd also testified that kneeling on a suspect in prone position could be a use of force, after previously testifying that it was not.

Watch HLN Mike Galanos' recap of day 12: