Ex-Minneapolis police officer Chauvin was in talks to plead guilty before arrest
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Just four days after the death of George Floyd, and the day before former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested, federal and state prosecutors were negotiating a possible plea deal with Chauvin, the FOX 9 Investigators have learned.
Sources familiar with the scuttled negotiations say it would have been a “universal deal” that would have included state murder charges as well as federal civil rights charges.
Those intense negotiations delayed a previously announced press conference on Thursday, May 28, by nearly two hours.
“I thought we would have another development to talk to you about, but we don’t,” said U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald at the start of the delayed press conference in front of the FBI’s Brooklyn Center Headquarters.
In a statement, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office confirmed the talks.
"There were early negotiations with the defendant (Derek Chauvin), between the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Attorney,” said Hennepin County Attorney spokesperson Chuck Laszewski in a statement to the FOX 9 Investigators.
“Ultimately, those negotiations failed," Laszewski added.
At the time, Chauvin was represented by Tom Kelly, who declined to comment. Chauvin’s current attorney, Eric Nelson, did not return calls for comment.
How and why the deal fell apart, what was the offer on the table, and who walked away, is still unclear.
By the next day, Friday, May 29, police arrested Chauvin and the Hennepin County Attorney had charged him with third-degree murder.
On Sunday night, May 31, Hennepin County Mike Freeman, under intense public pressure, called Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, and asked him to join the prosecution.
The next day, Monday, June 1, Chauvin was scheduled to make an initial court appearance, but it was rescheduled.
By Wednesday, June 3, with the Minnesota Attorney General added to the case, Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers involved in the arrest of Floyd were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.