Derek Chauvin invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his murder trial

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Derek Chauvin
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, introduce themselves to potential jurors. Court TV, via AP, Pool
  • Derek Chauvin's defense rested its case Thursday after the ex-cop declined to testify.

  • The defense theory is that George Floyd's heart condition and drug use caused his death.

  • The prosecution can present a rebuttal case before closing arguments on Monday.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the defense rested its case on Thursday.

Chauvin is charged with manslaughter and murder in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin pinned Floyd to the street while he was handcuffed, kneeling on his body for nine minutes and 29 seconds as he begged for his life.

Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, focused his case on the theory that George Floyd's pre-existing heart condition and drug use caused his death.

The defense case kicked off Tuesday morning after 11 days of testimony from prosecution witnesses, and only called witnesses for two days.

Chauvin decided not to testify in his own defense.

The defense theorized that heart conditions and drug use were responsible for Floyd's death

Nelson called witnesses who took very different stances on whether Chauvin's actions on the day Floyd died were reasonable and the primary cause of his death.

Former Santa Rosa, California, police officer Barry Brodd told jurors that Floyd was resisting arrest and that Chauvin was justified in putting Floyd face down on the ground, handcuffed behind the back, with his knee on top of him.

"Any resistance, handcuffed or not, should go to a proned control position," Brodd said.

That differed from testimony of the prosecution's law enforcement experts - including Minneapolis Police Department leadership - who previously told jurors Chauvin should have stopped using force once Floyd was handcuffed and no longer resisting.

A forensic pathologist for the defense then testified that George Floyd's death was caused by his preexisting heart condition, use of fentanyl and meth, and carbon monoxide he inhaled from a nearby police cruiser.

"All of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd's death," Dr. David Fowler said.

The former chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland told jurors that Floyd was living with up to a 90% narrowing of his arteries before he died.

Fowler is currently being sued by the family of Anton Black, a 19-year-old Maryland man who died in 2018 after being restrained by police. In the lawsuit, Black's family accuses Fowler of covering for the police department.

The prosecution presented a short rebuttal

Prosecutors have the opportunity to call witness who could present evidence to refute what was presented by the defense.

In this case, prosecutors called back Dr. Martin Tobin to talk about oxygen levels as they relate to possible carbon monoxide in Floyd's system.

The rebuttal can only include evidence that wasn't presented in the prosecution's initial case, or a new witness who contradicts the defendant's witnesses.

Judge Peter Cahill ruled that there will be no court on Friday and lawyers will give their closing arguments on Monday. Jurors will be sequestered at a hotel while they deliberate.

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