At the end of the first week of Derek Chauvin’s trial, prosecutors in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd used wrenching raw-video evidence and emotional testimony intended to make an impact on the jury, legal observers said.
Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer has yet to present his witnesses or introduce medical evidence that experts say holds his best hope for an acquittal. But he was likely able to steadily make some dents in the prosecution’s case over the first week of testimony, legal observers said.
Prosecutors have worked to amplify the disturbing video footage that lies at the heart of their case. Several eyewitnesses called to the stand by the prosecution struggled to contain their nerves and tears as they described watching Mr. Floyd cry out for help until slipping out of consciousness while Mr. Chauvin, then a patrol officer, kept his knee against his neck.
“We’ve had some very emotional testimony,” said Cheryl Bader, a criminal law professor at Fordham University and former federal prosecutor. “The judge has allowed witnesses to talk about how they felt, and talk about the raw experience they had and their guilt over this death. That was particularly powerful.”
Eric Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s defense attorney, pushed back against some witness accounts in his cross-examination, with a low-key and deliberate manner. But his attempts to draw out evidence that the crowd of onlookers surrounding Mr. Chauvin and other officers grew menacing were less successful, according to trial experts.