Derek Chauvin's defense objects to gag order: Former cop being called a 'murderer'

Derek Chauvin made his first court appearance Monday on murder charges in the death of George Floyd. (FOX 9)

The attorney representing Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, has filed an objection to the court’s gag order in the case. 

Last week, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill issued a gag order in the cases against the four former officers charged in Floyd’s death after at least two of the attorneys involved talked to the media. 

In his objection, Attorney Eric J. Nelson of Halberg Criminal Defense argues the gag order should be vacated because public officials have frequently called Chauvin a “murderer” or a “killer” in the press and referred to Floyd’s death as a murder and the gag order “outright prevents any mitigating or exculpatory information from entering the public conversation.” 

“Given the global extent and tenor of the pretrial publicity in this case, halting the flow of any information from Mr. Chauvin, through his counsel—before even a single statement has been made—to the public is more likely to prejudice the jury pool (to the extent that it has not already) than to prevent a taint. The Court’s order effectively allows the repeated and unmitigated condemnation of a criminal defendant by non-party public officials and celebrities,” the objection reads. 

The objection details the following public officials and celebrities who have commented on the case: 

  • Attorney General Keith Ellison
  • Hennepin County Attorney’s Office 
  • Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
  • Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
  • President Donald Trump
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz
  • Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison
  • Singer Jon Bon Jovi, who has reportedly already written, recorded and released for download a song about the death of George Floyd, which is referred to as “a murder” in publicity surrounding the song’s release. 

Chauvin’s lawyer points out that unlike the three other officers charged in the case and their attorneys, neither Chauvin or his legal team have spoken publicly outside the courtroom about the case. He argues there is “absolutely no reason” Chauvin’s case or counsel should be treated the same as those of his codefendants because “his counsel has not spoken to the media, he is facing a different set of charges, and his rights were not addressed by the Court when it issued the gag order.” 

“By issuing its gag order without notice and without an opportunity to be heard, the Court has deprived Mr. Chauvin of his constitutional rights to “freely speak,” through counsel, and to a “public trial”— ostensibly to protect his right to trial by an “impartial jury,” which most likely has already been compromised—without due process of law,” the objection reads. 

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death on May 25.