Chauvin seeks to overturn George Floyd’s murder conviction

MINNEAPOLIS ( Derek Chauvin is attempting to overturn his civil rights conviction for the 2020 murder of George Floyd, citing new evidence that shows he did not cause Floyd’s death.

Chauvin said he would never have pleaded guilty to the charge in 2021 if he had known about the theories of a Kansas forensic pathologist with whom he began correspondence in February. Chauvin is seeking a new trial or at least an evidentiary hearing from the judge who presided over his trial.

On May 25, 2020, Floyd, a Black man, was killed after Chauvin, a white man, kneeled on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes outside a convenience store where Floyd tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd’s death led to protests around the world, some of which turned violent, and forced a national reckoning with police brutality and racism.

In his request, Chauvin, who is serving a 21-year sentence in a federal prison in Arizona, did not have a lawyer. Floyd died, he says, not from asphyxia caused by Chauvin’s actions, but from complications of a rare tumor called a paraganglioma that can cause a fatal surge of adrenaline. Dr. William Schaetzel, of Topeka, Kansas, told him that. Floyd’s body was not examined by the pathologist, but autopsy reports were reviewed.

Schaetzel told The Associated Press on Monday that he couldn’t go to his grave knowing what he knew. Continuing, he said, “I just want to know the truth.”

Chauvin further alleges that Schaetzel reached out to his trial attorney, Eric Nelson, in 2021, as well as the judge and prosecution in his state-court murder trial, but that Nelson never told him about the pathologist or his ideas. A constitutional challenge to Nelson’s federal charges was also not raised, according to him.

If Chauvin had heard the pathologist’s testimony, he claims, no jury would have convicted him.

On Monday, Nelson declined to comment.

Chauvin waived his appeal rights when he pleaded guilty to the federal charge in December 2021 except if his counsel was ineffective.

Chauvin’s requests for a rehearing have been rejected twice by the federal appeals court. It’s still up to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal of his murder conviction from the state court.

For their roles in Floyd’s death, three other former officers received lesser state and federal sentences.

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