10:35 AM PT — Chauvin’s defense attorney is going to have a harder time of convincing a judge a new trial is warranted than he may think … so says a noted law professor, Tamara Rice Lave.
Lave — who teaches at the University of Miami School of Law — came on “TMZ Live” Wednesday and explained why Brandon Mitchell going to the MLK rally in August actually wouldn’t be grounds for a restart … saying the devil is in the details on this one.
Watch … she tells us the MLK event was NOT advertised as an anti-police demonstration, but simply a commemoration on Dr. King’s historic March on Washington. The fact he was wearing a shirt that sympathizes with BLM is a footnote in her view, and one that wouldn’t necessarily persuade an appellate judge to buck the trial court’s ruling.
She also makes a good point about Mitchell’s POV being communicated early and often — he relayed that he supported BLM during questioning, and still wasn’t ruled out at the time. And, as Lave notes, you can’t just boot someone from a jury because of the color of their skin … so, Chauvin’s team might have their work cut out for them here.
The Derek Chauvin trial juror who was photographed at an MLK rally last year — wearing a shirt with the words “Get your knee off our necks” — will absolutely be a key factor in Chauvin’s attempt to get a new trial … TMZ has learned.
As you know, Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson filed a motion Tuesday requesting a new trial. The docs made no specific mention of the juror, Brandon Mitchell, but did use the words “jury misconduct.”
Sources familiar tell us the Mitchell issue is on the table and WILL be addressed during arguments in court to support the motion for a new trial.
If you missed it, Mitchell — one of the only jurors from the trial who has since spoken out about the guilty verdict — went to a BLM-organized rally last August in D.C. to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington. Mitchell was photographed there wearing a shirt with MLK’s photo and the words … a pretty clear reference to George Floyd’s killing.
Also highly relevant is the fact George’s family members spoke at the rally. Now, here’s why this could be problematic.
Mitchell told the Star Tribune he answered “no” on the early jury questionnaire when asked 2 questions about attending demonstrations against police brutality — one specific to Minneapolis, and one asking generally.
Now, Mitchell defended his answers, saying the rally was NOT a protest against police brutality, per se, or even in support of George Floyd, but more so geared toward MLK.
He told the Star Tribune, “I’d never been to D.C. The opportunity to go to D.C., the opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of Black people; I just thought it was a good opportunity to be a part of something.”
That’s his side of the story, but Chauvin’s defense will certainly see it differently — that Mitchell was an activist who had very clear bias when he became a juror.
Remember … Mitchell has been very outspoken since the all-guilty verdict came in — a verdict he says that he and his fellow jurors reached fairly easily … once they sorted through some legal jargon in the instructions. He also said there was no pressure to vote guilty.
Originally Published — 8:04 AM PT