Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, said former police officer Derek Chauvin “should never have been tried in Minneapolis” during a recent Fox News interview.
The last time America had this kind of access to a criminal trial, Dershowitz was inside the courtroom with O.J. Simpson and his legal “dream team.”
“This case should never have been tried, this case should never be tried in Minneapolis — for two reasons. Number one, the settlement. Number two, every juror there is going to worry that if there’s an acquittal, it will affect them, it will affect their businesses, it will affect their homes. This should have been in a rural part of the state,” Dershowitz told Fox News.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, appealed for a venue change after Minneapolis reached a $27 million civil settlement with the family of George Floyd, whom Chauvin is accused of murdering. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill rejected the defense’s motion because the whole state has been “subjected to extreme amounts of publicity on this case.”
“It’s a serious constitutional mistake. The judge is focusing on the wrong issue: The issue of prejudice. What he should be focusing on is that jurors are going to be frightened that if they render an acquittal or they fail to convict on murder there may be violence. Their own homes, their own stores, their own family may be affected,” Dershowitz previously told Fox News.
He also offered some advice to the defense.
“My defense would be this: Number one, the knee on the neck — although we now know it was wrong — was [police] policy in Minneapolis. Not only that, it was used dozens of times and nobody ever died. Why did this person die? The defense would be, not because of the knee on the neck, but because of his preexisting conditions, his high blood pressure, his drugs in the body. That was the proximate cause and the best proof of that is the knee on the neck had been used in the past without any fatalities,” the famed attorney explained.
John Hinderaker, a Minnesota attorney and president of the Center of the American Experiment, said he doesn’t think Nelson has done enough to “really get into the jurors’ heads the idea that there’s another possibility here about what killed George Floyd.”
“The key issue in this case is the cause of death. If it was asphyxiation, Chauvin hasn’t got a chance but if what killed George Floyd was a fentanyl overdose, perhaps combined with some preexisting conditions, then he’s innocent,” said Hinderaker.
“He didn’t talk about the fact that long before he encountered Derek Chauvin, Derek Chauvin’s knee, [Floyd] was complaining that he couldn’t breathe, which is a symptom of fentanyl overdose, as is foaming at the mouth, as are the heavy lungs on autopsy, which were filled with fluid,” he added.