Derek Chauvin to plead

Having been convicted of the murder of George Floyd in state court, Derek Chauvin was charged by federal authorities with the violation of the Floyd’s civil rights. Federal authorities also charged the three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest. The charges are pending before Judge Paul Magnuson in federal court in St. Paul.

The federal proceedings seem to me both untoward and unwarranted. In the Chauvin case, they are duplicative. In the case of the three other officers, they are disruptive of the state court criminal proceedings. I have yet to hear a good explanation for what the Department of Justice has done.

Yesterday the court sent out notice in the federal case that Chauvin would appear tomorrow morning to change his plea. Having previously entered a plea of not guilty, Chauvin must now intend to plead guilty.

I have applied for one of the press seats at the hearing tomorrow morning. I will hear back from the court this afternoon whether my name was pulled from the hat for a seat in the courtroom. I will update this post when I hear back from the court.

We have precisely no information regarding the import of Chauvin’s change of plea. How does it affect the appeal of his convictions in state court? Does the change of plea involve an agreement to cooperate with authorities in the trial of the three other officers scheduled next month? He retains his Fifth Amendment rights as his state court appeal proceeds. Stay tuned.

The three other officers had previously sought to have their case severed from Chauvin’s. Their motion was denied without prejudice. Chauvin’s departure from the pending trial should simplify the defense of the three officers.

Before he was sentenced in state court Chauvin alluded to what must have been his plea negotiations. “Due to some additional legal matters at hand, I’m not able to give a full formal statement at this time,” he said. “Very briefly, though, I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family.”

Chauvin added that additional information would be released in the future that will be of interest to the family. “I hope things will give you [Floyd family members] some peace of mind,” he said.

In a sidebar to the federal charges, Judge Patrick Schiltz has undertaken an investigation of the leak of grand jury information to the Star Tribune. Judge Schiltz has conducted the investigation almost entirely under seal. I have covered this story to the best of my ability in several posts.

Most recently, I posted “A glimpse into the Blue Grand Jury investigation.” That glimpse remains a Power Line exclusive only because the rest of the press has taken no interest in the investigation.

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