Law/Justice

Eric Nelson isn’t working alone to defend Derek Chauvin: A police legal fund is backing him up with a dozen lawyers and $1 million

The real problem is that most defendants don’t get nearly the level of “due process” that is provided to cops who are accused of murdering civilians. Most criminal trials are settled through coerced plea bargains with defendants being represented by incompetent and/or overworked public defenders. If all defendants were given the level of due process rights that Derek Chauvin is getting, the state would lose most cases because, if for no other reason, securing guilty verdicts would be cost-prohibitive and most charges would be too difficult to prove.

By Eric Ferkenhoff USA TODAY

Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd appears to be a match of a lone defense attorney battling a stacked prosecution by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office with seemingly limitless resources.

Attorney Eric Nelson stands with Chauvin and Amy Voss – whom Nelson describes as his “assistant” but is a licensed attorney – on one side of the courtroom of Judge Peter Cahill. Several feet away, there’s a rotating crew of four state prosecutors, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Despite appearances, Nelson is hardly working solo. Nelson, a private attorney with the firm Halberg Criminal Defense, has plenty of help from the Minneapolis Police and Peace Officers Association‘s legal defense fund.

The group, Minnesota’s largest federation of officers and unions, is paying for up to a dozen other attorneys working the case behind the scenes, according to MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters. Nelson has assistance and lots of cash to spend on a trial that is likely to run at least a month, Peters said.

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