MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — The defense at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd rested its case Thursday without putting Chauvin on the stand, wrapping up after two days of testimony to the prosecution’s two weeks.
Chauvin informed the court that he will not testify, saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to take the stand.
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“Is this your decision not to testify?” Judge Peter Cahill asked.
“It is, your honor,” Chauvin said.
The defense told the judge it would call no more witnesses after two days of testimony and would rest its case, which has focused on raising doubts about the cause of Floyd’s death.
Prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general’s office said they would call at least one rebuttal witness, and Cahill has previously advised jurors he expects both sides to present their closing arguments on Monday. Jurors will then begin deliberating one of the most closely watched police misconduct cases ever seen in the United States.
Chauvin is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 death, following an arrest that happened on suspicion Floyd used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a convenience store. The most serious charge, the second-degree murder count, carries up to 40 years in prison. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes. Bystander video footage shows Chauvin pressing his knee into a handcuffed Floyd’s neck, with Floyd repeatedly claiming that he could not breathe. Floyd’s death sparked protests and civil unrest in Minneapolis and across the U.S. over police brutality, at points turning violent.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.