An alternate juror who heard evidence in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin admitted in an interview released Thursday that she was afraid of violent rioting and personal ramifications if Chauvin was not convicted of murder.
Lisa Christensen told KARE that she was apprehensive to even be a member of the jury, because, “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.”
Christensen was not ultimately part of the jury that convicted Chauvin. Two jurors, including Christensen, were randomly dismissed by Hennepin Court District Judge Peter Cahill after the trial, but before jury deliberations.
Christensen also said that she heard the news during the criminal trial that the city of Minneapolis had settled a lawsuit with the family of George Floyd for $27 million. Cahill repeatedly instructed jurors not to watch the news during the trial, for fear that wall-to-wall coverage of the trial would prejudice them.
Chauvin’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, shared Cahill’s concerns.
He made two motions to move the trial from Hennepin County, one in November before the trial started, and one after the civil settlement.
But Cahill denied both those motions, citing media coverage that he believed saturated entire the state.
In two instances, Nelson moved for a mistrial.
He made the first motion after prosecutors broached a strict order set by Cahill during the state’s rebuttal, after the defense rested its case. That motion was denied.
He also moved for a mistrial after closing arguments, citing Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA-43), who flew to Minneapolis and whipped an angry mob into a frenzy during the jury’s deliberation, telling the crowd to be “more confrontational” if Chauvin was not convicted.
Nelson also alleged gross prosecutorial misconduct during the state’s rebuttal to his closing argument, during which the state essentially accused him of lying to the jury.
That motion, too, was denied.
– – –