USA TODAY US Edition
Closing arguments begin Monday in Chauvin trial
Ex-officer Derek Chauvin invokes the Fifth Amendment to decline to testify as the defense rests its case.
MINNEAPOLIS – Closing arguments are set for Monday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after he told the court Thursday he would not testify in his own defense.
“I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today,” Chauvin said.
Chauvin, charged in George Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25, has taken notes and participated in sidebars with his attorneys throughout the trial. He smiled at one point when lead defense attorney Eric Nelson mentioned that they had “gone back and forth” about the issue of testifying many times.
He offered short, direct answers to each question from Nelson and Judge
The defense rested its case Thursday after calling seven witnesses over two days. A physician with 40 years of experience in the physiology of breathing briefly returned to the witness stand Thursday to rebut testimony given by a medical expert for the defense.
Later, Cahill told jurors they will return Monday to hear closing arguments and be sequestered for deliberations.
“If I were you, I would plan for long (deliberations) and hope for short,” Cahill said.
The defense argues Floyd’s hypertensive heart disease and ingestion of meth and fentanyl, together with the struggle with police, led him to suffer from heart strain and ultimately die. Prosecutors contend Floyd died because of Chauvin’s knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Over the course of 11 days, prosecutors called 38 witnesses to the stand and played dozens of bystander, surveillance and police body camera videos. Chauvin’s charges are second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
After the defense rested its case, NAACP National President Derrick Johnson released a statement: “What we’ve all witnessed throughout the trial thus far confirmed what we saw in the video. Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. As we turn to closing arguments on Monday, the nation waits on justice.”
Arthur Reed, George Floyd’s cousin, said the family didn’t expect Chauvin to testify. Reed said he felt the prosecution “would have chopped him down second by second” when asked why he knelt on Floyd for so long.
He added: “We’re just ready to get this over with, make sure he gets the justice he deserves. We think the state has put on an excellent case.”