Resolving one of the biggest questions of the trial, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin said Thursday morning that he has chosen to invoke his Fifth Amendment right and will not testify in court as he faces murder and manslaughter charges for George Floyd’s death. 

Key Facts

In a short exchange with his defense attorney Eric Nelson, Chauvin agreed that he had gone back-and-forth on the decision.

But after a “lengthy meeting last night,” as described by Nelson, Chauvin said he’d decided against giving testimony, which would’ve opened him up to a broad scope of questions from the state.

Chauvin’s responses to questions from Judge Peter Cahill are the only time viewers have heard him speak in the nearly three-week trial, during which he’s spent much of the time taking notes on a legal pad.

The defense will rest its case Thursday morning before the jury, at which point the prosecution will begin its rebuttle.

Key Background

The defense will be closing its case after calling to the stand just a few witnesses, including a forensic pathologist, a police use-of-force expert, a friend of Floyd’s, and two officials involved in a separate arrest of Floyd in 2019. The experts bolstered the defense’s case that Chauvin didn’t use excessive force and that Floyd instead died as a result of underlying health conditions and drug use. However, their testimony comes up against a large slate of witnesses called by the state, who testified Chauvin acted unnecessarily and that his actions caused Floyd’s death. The jury will have to decide whether the defense has raised reasonable doubt.

What To Watch For

A decision in Chauvin’s trial is expected to come next week as Judge Peter A. Cahill marked Monday as the start of jury deliberation. Chauvin, a 19-year Minneapolis Police Department veteran, faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Further Reading

“George Floyd Died Of Heart Problems, Defense’s Medical Expert Says, Suggesting Car Fumes Played A Role” (Forbes)

“Expert Who Testified Derek Chauvin’s Use-Of-Force Was ‘Justified’ Also Defended Another Officer In A Police Killing Case” (Forbes)

“‘These Are Difficult Cases To Win’: Here’s What Legal Experts Think About Prosecution’s Case Against Derek Chauvin” (Forbes)