Legal expert explains why Derek Chauvin defense is flailing

Derek Chauvin's attorneys haven't done a great job defending the former Minneapolis police officer, according to one legal analyst, but they just don't have much to work with.

Georgetown Law professor Paul Butler, a former prosecutor, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that witnesses have shown strong evidence that Chauvin caused George Floyd's death, and he said their testimony has been powerful and emotional.

"Every prosecution witness is to establish either that Mr. Chauvin used unreasonable and excessive force, and that it was Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck that killed Mr. Floyd and not the drug overdose that the [defense] claimed," Butler said. "So every witness has to establish one of those points."

"So yesterday, we saw Christopher Martin, the clerk, let the jury know that George Floyd was under the influence of drugs during the time of his fatal encounter with the cops," Butler added. "The prosecutors know that the defense lawyers will make a big deal about that. The prosecutors want to be the first people to let the jury know that, so it doesn't look like they're trying to hide something. But then the video shows Mr. Floyd coherent, in control, he doesn't look like somebody who's about to O.D. on meth, so that helps the prosecutor make the point about the actual cause of Mr. Floyd's death.

That has left Chauvin's defense with very little room to make their case, he said.

"The defense, they're not doing a great job, but frankly," Butler said, "they don't have a lot to work with. The prosecutor evidence is overwhelming."


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