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Derek Chauvin Appeals Murder Conviction In George Floyd’s Killing, Will Represent Himself

Derek Chauvin, who’s appealing his conviction in George Floyd’s murder, says he was denied a public defender, according to newly filed court documents.

By Dorian Geiger
Derek Chauvin Convicted Of All Counts In Floyd Murder Case

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is appealling his murder conviction in George Floyd’s death.

Chauvin, who filed the appeal on Thursday in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, will represent himself, according to new court documents obtained by Oxygen.com

Chauvin, who says he’s “currently unrepresented by legal counsel,” formally requested a public defender to represent him in his appeal in August, citing financial struggles. 

“Due to my incarcercation, I do not have the sufficient means to retain private counsel for the appeal,” the convicted police officer wrote. “I currently have no income, besides nominal prison wages, nor do I own any real property or vehicles.”

Chauvin’s public defender request, however, was ultimately denied last month, he said. He’s asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the decision. 

In April, he was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. He did not testify at the trial, citing “additional legal matters at hand."

The Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, who covered Chauvin’s legal costs during his first trial, won’t represent him for his appeal, court filings indicate.

“I have been informed that their obligation to pay for my representation terminated upon my conviction and sentencing,” Chauvin wrote in court documents.

On Thursday, Judge Peter Cahill signed a court order approving Chauvin’s “pauper status,” essentially shielding him from paying bills associated with court filing fees and other costs. 

Chauvin is currently incarcerated at a correctional facility in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.

George Floyd One Year 2

Some legal experts are now questioning why the former police officer was denied a public defender.

"He's been denied a public defender,” attorney Joe Tamburino told CBS News. “He's in prison…for the next 22-plus years. I don't know why that was denied.”

In his newly filed appeal, Chauvin accused the jury pool of being “tainted” and argued “excessive pretrial publicity” impacted his conviction. Chauvin also said the court “abused its discretion” when it denied his attorney’s request for a change of venue. 

Floyd was killed in May 2020 after Chauvin, who is white, knelt on his neck for nine and a half minutes. His death was ruled a homicide.

Floyd’s killing touched off protests around the U.S. demanding racial justice and police reform. His death also sparked nationwide unrest, including riots and widespread looting in many major cities.

Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Floyd's family, didn't immediately respond to Oxygen.com's request for comment regarding Chauvin's appeal on Friday.

Chauvin, who is also facing federal civil rights charges in Floyd’s death, will be represented by attorney Eric Nelson in that matter. He’s pleaded not guilty. 

Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — the three other officers also involved in Floyd’s death — were also indicted on federal charges. They’re charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter charges.

Lane, Kueng, and Thao are scheduled to head to trial in March 2022.