The conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on all counts in the death of George Floyd "might be reversed on appeal" — likely by the U.S. Supreme Court — and it "should be," Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV after Tuesday's ruling.
"The judge himself said this case may be reversed on appeal, and I think it might be reversed on appeal," Dershowitz said on Newsmax TV's "Spicer & Co." Tuesday, shortly after a jury in Minneapolis returned guilty verdicts against Chauvin on counts of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Later in the evening, the famed attorney also said on Newsmax TV's "Rob Schmitt Tonight" that the case is "far from over" and that it will likely reach the U.S. Supreme Court before a reversal is granted, as the Minnesota courts won't agree on the appeal.
Dershowitz told "Spicer & Co." that the American Civil Liberties Union "would be all over this case if it weren't a racially charged case," and that all Americans should be concerned that the jury may have been influenced by outside pressures.
"I have no real confidence that this verdict, which may be correct in some ways, but I have no confidence that this verdict was produced by due process and the rule of law rather than the influence of the crowd," said Dershowitz.
The appeal process will take "more than weeks and months," he added.
"A new appeal will be filed immediately, because he's in jail now, pending appeal," said Dershowitz, explaining that there are "two levels of appeal" in Minnesota but most likely, the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation's top court, he added, "holds the best possibility for the defense of getting this conviction reversed, on the grounds that the judge himself suggested the statements made by people outside the courtroom essentially intimidating jurors and telling them that if they don't come to the 'right verdict,' there will be violence and consequences and their own lives may be affected."
Meanwhile, Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the case, will likely sentence Chauvin to a "very substantial sentence," said Dershowitz, and that "might be the equivalent of life imprisonment" for the former police officer, who is now 45 years old.
"Remember the case of Sam Sheppard?" he said. "That was very a famous case F. Lee Bailey did. It became a television series, and in that case, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction based on outside pressures...convictions have been reversed, not because of what happened inside the courtroom, but because what happened outside the courtroom seeped into the jury box and that's not acceptable under the rule of law."
Dershowitz told Schmidt he doesn't believe Minnesota's appeals process will result in a reversal of Chauvin's conviction, any more than Cahill would have "had the courage" to grant a mistrial in the case.
Cahill, Dershowitz said, knew in his "heart of hearts" that a mistrial should have been granted after Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., called on protesters to "get more confrontational" if the Chauvin verdict didn't turn out the way they liked.
Dershowitz said there have also been cases involving "southern radicals," where juries were threatened against acquitting a Black suspect or convicting a white man.
Dershowitz also insisted that in another prominent Minnesota case, where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed in his car, ex-police officer Kim Potter is "being absolutely railroaded."
Police officials have said that Potter, a veteran police officer, mistook her handgun for her Taser when she shot Wright. Dershowitz argued there is "not a single element of any crime" but "they're gonna push and they're gonna demand."
"And they're gonna win," Schmitt interjected.
"Yeah," Dershowitz replied.
Dershowitz further expanded on his arguments in a column posted on the Gatestone Institute website.
"The evidence, in my view, supports a verdict of manslaughter, but not of murder," he wrote. "Any verdict that did not include a conviction for murder was likely to be unacceptable to Waters and her followers, however, even if the facts and the law mandate that result. Waters is not interested in neutral justice. She wants vengeance for what she and her followers justifiably see as the unjustified killing of George Floyd. That is not the rule of law. That is the passion of the crowd."
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