MINNEAPOLIS: The defense at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd wrapped up its case Thursday without putting Chauvin on the stand, presenting two days of testimony to the prosecution’s two weeks.
Chauvin informed the court that he would not testify, saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to take the stand.
“Is this your decision not to testify?,” Judge Peter Cahill asked. “It is, your honor,” Chauvin said.
Some prosecution rebuttal testimony was expected to follow Thursday. Closing arguments are set for Monday, after which the racially diverse jury will begin deliberating at the barbed-wire-ringed courthouse, with Minneapolis on edge against a repeat of the protests and violence that broke out last spring over Floyd’s death.
The question of whether Chauvin would testify was the subject of weeks of speculation.
The risks were high: Testifying could have opened him up to devastating cross-examination, with prosecutors replaying the video of the arrest and forcing Chauvin to explain, one frame at a time, why he kept pressing down on Floyd.
But taking the stand could have also given the jury the opportunity to see or hear any remorse or sympathy he might feel. He would have been able to remove the Covid-19 mask he has had to wear at the defense table.
The only time Chauvin has been publicly heard defending himself was when the jury listened to body-camera footage from the scene last May. After an ambulance had taken Floyd away, Chauvin told a bystander: “We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy … and it looks like he’s probably on something.”
The decision not to testify was announced a day after a forensic pathologist testifying for the defense said that Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance as a result of his heart disease. That contradicted prosecution experts who said Floyd succumbed to a lack of oxygen from the way he was pinned down.
Dr. David Fowler, a former Maryland chief medical examiner who is now with a consulting firm, said Wednesday the fentanyl and methamphetamine in

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