Utah, Nation prepare for verdict In Derek Chauvin trial

Apr 20, 2021, 12:46 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 4:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Businesses across the country boarded up windows and police set up barricades ahead of the jury unveiling its verdict in the Derek Chauvin case Tuesday afternoon.

Utah is no exception and officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department said they are preparing for the worst. They have barricades outside the public safety building in the event there are riots.

KSL-TV spoke to Greg Skordas, who has over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor and lawyer for police.

He said rioting will most likely happen if Chauvin is not found guilty.

“If he’s acquitted, that’s certainly something the jury can do,” he said. “I fear for the community. I fear for a lot of communities. I think there will be riots all over the country.

Skordas said the state of Minnesota cannot afford to lose this case against Chauvin.

“My guess is there will be a conviction of something,” he said. “There is sort of three alternate charges the jury can find him guilty of, and my guess is, they will find him guilty of one of those.”

He thinks the most likely conviction will be the most serious charge — the murder statute.

However, he believes the jury will not find him guilty of all three because the state brought all three charges as alternatives, and it is up to the jury to decide which charge is most fitting.

Skordas also said he thinks the jury will reach their verdict in the next day or two, but the pressure was certainly on.

“I think the judge was sensitive about that to say look there is all this outside influence going on, but you have to decide this case based on the evidence you heard the last four weeks and nothing more,” said Skordas.

If the jury cannot come to a unanimous decision, there will be a hung jury, and the judge could declare a mistrial and the case would be tried again. If Chauvin is found guilty, the defense will not stop there either.

“If he’s convicted the defense could have some argument for appeal based on the public pressure that was clearly put on this jury, and that includes the city settling the civil case right on the eve of trial,” Skordas said.

Skordas added that settlement was almost unheard of and could have the potential to taint the jury’s decision before the trial ever started.

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Utah, Nation prepare for verdict In Derek Chauvin trial