Closing arguments begin Monday in Chauvin trial

- N’dea Yancey-Bragg, Grace Hauck, Tami Abdollah, Kevin McCoy and Eric Ferkenhoff

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

Peter Cahill.

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.”

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