The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, officially began Monday with opening statements.
Opening statements are some of the most pivotal moments in the trial besides the reading of the verdict. it is a chance for the lawyers to lay out their case and build a relationship with the jury. Besides closing arguments, it is the only time lawyers will directly address the jurors.
The trial is expected to last two to four weeks.
Attorney Jerry Blackwell delivered opening arguments for the state. Blackwell said the key number in the case is 9:29—the length of time Chauvin kept a knee to Floyd’s neck and back. He said Chauvin "betrayed this badge" when he used excessive force against Floyd, who was unarmed and handcuffed.
"The most important numbers you will hear in this trial are nine two nine," Blackwell said.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, said in his opening statement the case is "clearly more than about nine minutes and 29 seconds."
Nelson said the case has an overwhelming amount of evidence, nearly 50,000 items.
"The evidence is far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds," he said.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May.
Judge Cahill reinstated the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin during the first week of the trial.