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Biden & Maxine Waters' Pre-Verdict Comments Eyed as Grounds for Chauvin's Appeal

Conviction not set in stone as defense likely to use remarks to overturn guilty verdict

 on 22nd April 2021 @ 12.00am
joe biden and maxine waters both made public comments pushing for a guilty verdict © press
Joe Biden and Maxine Waters both made public comments pushing for a guilty verdict

Legal experts are warning that the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is not entirely set in stone as the defense will likely cite public pre-verdict statements from Democrats Joe Biden and Maxine Waters as grounds for an appeal.

Chauvin's murder conviction was met with widespread approval among those seeking justice for Floyd.

However, the guilty verdict could still be overturned thanks to public statements from Biden and Waters pushing for a conviction.

Waters, who had visited Minnesota before the verdict was announced, urged protesters to "stay in the street," "get more active," and "get more confrontational" if the jury failed to convict Chauvin of murder.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy warned in a New York Post op-ed that Waters' comments alone would be grounds for appeal.

"Because of her, this isn’t over," McCarthy warned.

maxine waters triggered outrage by encouraging protesters to riot if a guilty verdict wasn t reached © press
Maxine Waters triggered outrage by encouraging protesters to riot if a guilty verdict wasn't reached

McCarthy said that Waters, who represents California, went to Minnesota "to interfere in its judicial system" in violation of a curfew.

He argued that "her remarks can only be interpreted as an incitement to violence" and that she "ought to be under investigation."

Biden had also weighed in on the case before the verdict was announced, telling reporters that he was "praying that verdict is the right verdict" and that "I think it's overwhelming, in my view."

The president claimed that he only said this because the jury was already sequestered, but McCarthy argued that this  "is no excuse" for making those remarks.

"He is a lawyer and former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman who well knows that sequestration does not make jurors impervious to prejudicial publicity," McCarthy wrote.

"And if he’s been following the case as he claims to have been, he knows trial judge Peter Cahill has pleaded that public officials stop commenting on the trial — under circumstances where, even before the Bidens and Waters piped up, there was already substantial reason to doubt that Chauvin could get a fair trial in Minneapolis."

McCarthy was far from the only one to criticize Waters and Biden for their comments.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that "sometimes a fair trial is difficult to conduct" and that "it is certainly not helpful for a member of Congress, and even the president of the U.S. to appear to be weighing in in public, while the jury is trying to sort through this significant case."

Randy Zelin, head of the criminal practice at Wilk Auslander LLP and an adjunct professor of law at Cornell University, told Fox News that the defense has "so many different directions for the defense to go" in arguing that the trial was not fair, including Waters’ comments and possibly Biden's.

derek chauvin is likely to use the comments as grounds for appeal © press
Derek Chauvin is likely to use the comments as grounds for appeal

Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson has yet to reveal whether the remarks from Waters or Biden will be cited on appeal.

Nelson did argue before the verdict was announced that Waters' statement and other factors should be grounds for a mistrial.

Judge Peter Cahill conceded with Nelson that "Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned."

Cahill also said that he wished elected officials would stop referencing the case "especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law" so as to let the judicial process play out as intended.

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