Biden ‘Praying’ for ‘Right Verdict’ in Chauvin Trial

President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that he hopes jurors in Derek Chauvin’s trial reach the “right verdict.”

“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is—I think it’s overwhelming in my view,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that,” he added.

The jury in Minneapolis is weighing three charges against Chauvin, a former police officer. Chauvin is accused of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd.

Biden, speaking at the White House in Washington after a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said he spoke to Floyd’s family on Monday.

“They’re a good family. And they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what the verdict is,” the president said, adding that he’s “come to know” the family.

Biden did not himself call for peace.

Asked if Biden’s comments could be cause for a mistrial, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that she does not think so.

“The jury is sequestered which the president also noted in his comments. He certainly is not looking to influence, but he has been touched by the impact on the family. Hence, he called the family yesterday and had that discussion. I expect he will weigh in further once there is a verdict,” she said.

“I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict. He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family, what a difficult time this is. What a difficult time this is for many Americans across the country who have been watching this trial very closely. The jury is sequestered. That is different from where things stood just yesterday,” she added.

Epoch Times Photo
Defense attorney Eric Nelson (L) and defendant, former police officer Derek Chauvin listen to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments at the Hennepin County Courthouse, Minn., on April 19, 2021. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Epoch Times Photo
In this image from police body camera video George Floyd responds to police after they approached his car outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 25, 2020, as shown in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 19, 2021. (Court TV via AP/Pool)

Chauvin’s lawyer and prosecutors made competing arguments on Monday before the trial ended and jurors entered isolation until they arrive at a verdict for each count.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, told jurors that the state had failed to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the former officer’s actions, such as kneeling on Floyd’s neck, caused him to die.

Chauvin followed his training in restraining a person who is resisting arrest and called for medical help when Floyd’s condition worsened, he said.

Prosecutors charged that Chauvin not only killed Floyd, but he did it on purpose.

“The defendant caused George Floyd’s death, he did. The state proved that beyond a reasonable doubt,” Matthew Frank, assistant Minnesota attorney general, told the court.

Jurors were instructed by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill to presume Chauvin’s innocence unless it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. They were told they must consider each charge separately and that deciding guilt or innocence based on the facts presented in the trial was their “exclusive responsibility.”

Cahill had declined to order the jury sequestered until after closing arguments. On Monday, he also rejected a request from Nelson to declare a mistrial after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) made remarks in Minnesota that some legal experts said was aimed at influencing the jury to convict. The judge said the defense would be able to submit articles about those remarks in a potential appeal, which could lead to a mistrial.

Other Members of Congress commented on the trial in Washington on Tuesday.

“I have seen some of the trial and it’s heart-wrenching to think about the Floyd family. They’re going through what too many families have had to suffer. And so we wait with patience and in prayer to see the outcome of this trial,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“I trust the jury to make a reasoned decision,” added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “The judge instructed them fairly on the law and I’m willing to accept the verdict and I think we live in a culture where nobody’s above the law including the cops and that’s a good thing.”

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Zachary Stieber
Author: Zachary Stieber

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