The head prosecutor in Derek Chauvin’s trial has insisted in a new interview that the ex-cop’s conviction for murdering George Floyd is “not a cause for celebration.”
“One man’s dead and another man’s going to prison for a long time,” Ellison stressed, with he and his team all still having sleepless nights.
It was a message shared by Special Assistant Attorney General Jerry Blackwell, who delivered the state’s opening statement as well as the rebuttal closing argument.
“It’s a tragedy, and there really are no winners in a tragedy,” Blackwell told the Star Tribune.
It is a process they expect to be repeated in four months in the August trial of three other former Minneapolis cops charged with aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. Before then, Chauvin is scheduled for sentencing on June 16.
Ellison assembled a team of “Michael Jordans,” with a team of 13 leading lawyers, each assigned with different tasks to prepare for the trial, even including “themes” and “the art of presentation,” he told the paper.
“It was not a pirate ship,” said Schleicher, who focused on policing and questioned several witnesses at trial.
“It was a warship, and it was ready to go,” said Steve Schleicher, an outside attorney brought in as part of the team.
Another team member, Lola Velazquez-Aguilu, said none of the star attorneys let their ego get in the way.
“Everybody was willing to take out the trash, to literally do anything large or small,” said Velazquez-Aguilu.
Ultimately, the team believes the prosecution came from the powerful eyewitness video that quickly went viral after Floyd’s death last year, leading to the oft-repeated phrase in court, “You can believe your eyes.”
“We felt that the most potent, powerful evidence there was the video and let people see it for themselves, judge it for themselves, reach their own conclusions and be able to say to them, ‘There’s no optical illusion in this; you can believe your eyes,’ ” Blackwell told the paper.