To understand the Chauvin trial, it helps to first know that Minnesota’s Attorney General is Keith Ellison. You know him: He was America’s first Muslim Congressman. After losing out on the top spot with the DNC, he turned his eyes back to his adopted home state and the chance to bring anarcho-tyranny to life. Ellison was elected to statewide office in 2018. The Minnesota GOP put a very good candidate against him that year–a Christian and an actual conservative–largely because the Minnesota GOP is full of losers and they expected him to lose. At the same time it came out that Ellison was in the habit of beating up his girlfriend. It ended up not mattering. The press conjured some high school gay-bashing on the GOPer’s part, and if “Minnesota Nice” means anything nowadays, it means being really nice to gays and really really nice to blacks. Minnesotan liberals will do anything to be nice to black criminals; they will even vote for them.
Ellison is a creature of the New Left, one that most Minnesotans are really only now coming to understand. Minnesota has been a strongly liberal state since 1934, at times a one-party one. Ethnic homogeneity allowed for a burgeoning welfare state and racial pandering to coexist with a fairly conservative temperament of those pushing them. Our last governor, for example, adhered to all Obama-era creeds, but in old school New Deal fashion, dissented from legalized weed and gambling. Liberalism here has never been about moral degeneracy; this only ever moved about as fast as the Methodist church. The ideology was never decent, because liberalism never is, but one could see how decent people could go along with it. Ellison is something different. He has tempted the electorate with his own criminality along with his open support for Antifa, and every time has gotten away with it.
It is worth remembering that the Hennepin County Attorney did not want to bring charges against Chauvin at first. It was clear that Floyd was an unsavory character: drug addict, violent criminal, part-time porno actor. The riots forced their hand. And even more, a BLM marketing blitz turned Floyd’s ugly visage into a religious icon. You can no longer walk a commercial block in Minneapolis without seeing that dim expressionless mug painted on the bricks of hairstylists, liquor stores, and Safeways. At least Soviet propaganda strove for something objectively noble. The thousand permutations of the Floyd visage, some in pastels, some in black and white, most in garish colors, all invite you into some depths of the lower soul, something base and primordial. This isn’t Floyd’s fault; he undoubtedly took better photographs that captured happiness, fear, grief, rather than that dull gaze. Think of the sharp and chiseled characters of David, and the visage of St. George is intentionally the opposite of this. He was meant to be generic, a conveyor of African features and nothing more. Where David wanted to draw individuals out of their classes, the thousand anonymous artists of today want to lower you in the sludge of purposeless advocacy and perpetual barbarism.
Ellison’s AG department is now running the show, and running it incompetently. The biggest revelation since the trial began is the discovery of methamphetamine and fentanyl containing Floyd’s DNA at the bottom of the squad car into which Floyd was being escorted. The drugs were discovered in January–seven months after Floyd’s death–and only because Chauvin’s legal team undertook the new investigation itself. To call this an embarrassment is an understatement. There has been a clear show of force on the State’s part: five or six prosecutors in the courtroom every day, with others Zooming in. That the State can spare so many lawyers but cannot do a proper forensic examination is insulting to anyone with enough dignity left to be insulted.
There is more. Last week, the City of Minneapolis entered into a “settlement” with the Floyd family for $27 million. Happening in the middle of voir dire, it is hard to believe this was unintentional. As of Wednesday, it has resulted in at least two seated jurors being removed. There is a saying you should not attribute to malice what can be pinned on incompetence. This doesn’t make much sense when a central tenet of wokeism is staffing the incompetent. More than that, one of Ellison’s sons is on the City Council. To claim that Ellison could have had no sway in preventing news the $27 million payout is preposterous.
Ellison and the State want the trial to be just another facet of the chaos they and the mainstream press have fostered over the last ten months. But in the courtroom at least, this isn’t what they’ve gotten so far. Judge Cahill is an intelligent and serious man, with considerable experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and on the bench. He is centering the trial around the defendant Chauvin, not the apotheosis of George Floyd. Chauvin’s attorney has worked hard to get in body-cam footage of Floyd’s 2019 arrest in order to prove that his bizarre behavior was no fluke and to raise questions about his cause of death. The State objected on the basis that it would be embarrassing to Mr. Floyd. Cahill rightly pointed out that Floyd was not a party to the case, and that the immediate proceeding did not exist to protect Floyd’s substantive rights, but the defendant’s. This most elementary fact stabs at the heart of the State’s theory of the case, which centers on the sanctity of Chauvin’s alleged victim. Cahill also swatted down the State’s attempt to have an “expert witness” compare George Floyd to Jesus Christ. It is hard to believe that Chauvin could have found a fairer judge in all of Minneapolis.
Cahill has been deferential to both parties so far, but there are signs he is wearying of the State’s bad faith and incompetence. Eric Nelson is doing a thorough job on jury selection, though he is not overly aggressive. An attorney has at his disposal two ways to strike jurors he does not like: peremptory strikes and strikes for cause. The former you can do for almost any reason, so long as that reason isn’t sex, race, etc., but you only get so many of them. You have an unlimited number of strikes for cause, but to get such a strike you have to prove that the potential juror would not be able to try the case in a fair and impartial manner. Sometimes the potential jurors just tell you they could not be impartial–that makes it easy. The real coup is when you lure a potential juror you would otherwise use a peremptory strike on into admitting he could not be fair and impartial–then you dispose of the disliked juror and keep your peremptory strikes. Every attorney learns little tricks in order to try to talk a disliked juror into admitting his bias or, on the other side of the aisle, in rehabilitating a borderline juror you want to keep. It all comes down to wordplay. This is one of the reasons people hate lawyers.
On Tuesday, it seemed that State prosecutors had successfully rehabilitated a juror who had clearly formed a negative impression against Chauvin. They had gotten him to say the “magic words”–oh sure, I could be impartial if you put it that way. Mr. Nelson tried, but he did not succeed in reestablishing the juror’s bias. Luckily, Judge Cahill came to the rescue: He demanded Mr. Nelson make a motion to strike for cause, and after a recess he quickly granted it. He was tired of the word games.
That doesn’t mean that Cahill is onto the machinations of the prosecutors or understands the connection between the State, the press, and Antifa. On Wednesday, the Star Tribune was exposed for trying to read notes on counsel table and describing the security arrangements in the courthouse. Cahill was rightly enraged, and threatened to suppress media coverage in the courtroom. Cahill, like all good judges, is territorial of his courtroom. But this is still probably not enough to ensure a fair trial. So long as the trial is venued in Minneapolis, the threat of organized violence will be tacitly condoned by the State and tacitly encouraged by mainstream media. If an acquittal does come, the jurors’ lives will be at risk. The potential jurors know this. Mr. Nelson and his client are gaining victories in the courtroom, but Ellison and his besuited thugs control everything outside of it.