MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — Both sides rested their case at the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd Thursday, with closing arguments set for Monday.
The defense rested 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.
“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.
The prosecution briefly recalled a lung and critical care expert to knock down a defense witness’ theory that carbon monoxide poisoning from a squad car’s exhaust might have contributed to Floyd’s death. Dr. Martin Tobin noted hospital tests that showed Floyd’s level was at most 2%, within the normal range.
The defense witness, Dr. David Fowler, said Wednesday that the fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning, were contributing factors in the 46-year-old Black man’s death last May. Fowler said he would classify the manner of death “undetermined,” rather than homicide,
And with that, both sides finished presenting their cases.
Cahill said jurors would hear closing arguments on Monday before receiving the case for deliberations. They will be sequestered at a hotel in a city whose downtown is filled with National Guard troops and boarded-up windows, preparing for potential unrest.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” Cahill told jurors on the question of how much to pack.
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.