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Derek Chauvin Trial: Inside The Courtroom For Day 1

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Esme Murphy had a front row seat during the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial (2:35). WCCO 4 News At 6 - March 29, 2021

Video Transcript

- Only one broadcast reporter is allowed inside the courtroom each day, and that person provides notes for media outlets around the world. Today, WCCO reporter Esme Murphy had that front row seat, and she joins us right now. Esme, what was the emotion like inside the courtroom today?

ESME MURPHY: It was so tense, Amelia. One of the interesting things that happened today was the playing of that infamous video, that nine minutes and 29 seconds that Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd's neck. What came clear in jury selection is that most of these jurors, actually, all of them had not seen the entire video before today. One of them hadn't even seen any of it.

They'd only seen just small clips, and you could see, as they watched this video, they were facing directly towards me. You could see their eyes. One of them gripped the hands of their arm rest. Another held her hand over part of her head. You could see that they were appeared shaken by this. Again, they had never seen it.

The other thing is video was on four separate screens inside this courtroom, blown up, and it didn't lose any resolution. In other words, it was completely clear. You could see the details. You could see George Floyd's eyebrows. You could see his nose.

You could see his mouth, and it's a very powerful video. Because it goes on for so long. The other thing was how close I was to Derek Chauvin, about eight feet.

You could see him turning around, consulting with his attorney. He is clearly involved in this case in terms of his own defense, and the prosecution, it's clear that they have a lot of weapons there. You had Jeffrey Blackwell, a prosecutor, who joined the team pro bono, who gave the opening statements today. So it was a unique view of a scene that is really remarkable that's playing out in front of the world's eyes, and the jurors, I must say, really are a reflection of our entire community, an extremely diverse jury.

- Esme, what was Derek Chauvin's demeanor when that video was playing? I know that everybody's wearing masks, so we can't really see their expression. But what can you tell us about him?

- Well, you know, I could see it at times, because he was wearing a mask. But he was actually looking at the different screens, and I had a screen that was kind of behind me. So he actually pivoted and looked kind of over me towards the screen, so he was just looking at himself with his knee on George Floyd's neck. And then, at times, he was taking notes, but it was such a sort of surreal scene to see this man look at this video that has horrified so many.

- All right, Esme, thank you.