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Prosecution team reflects on Derek Chauvin trial, verdict

Attorneys Steve Schleicher and Jerry Blackwell discuss what led up to jurors finding the former officer guilty in George Floyd's murder.
Credit: KARE 11
KARE 11's Lou Raguse sat down with attorneys Steve Schleicher and Jerry Blackwell, who were members of the prosecution team in the Derek Chauvin trial.

MINNEAPOLIS — Two prosecuting attorneys in the trial of Derek Chauvin are speaking out about what it took to build out their case, and what they believe led the jury to find the former Minneapolis officer guilty in the murder of George Floyd last May.

Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher, who both assisted pro bono, reflected on the high-profile policing trial in a lengthy interview with KARE 11's Lou Raguse Monday, roughly a week after jurors delivered their verdict. 

Chauvin was convicted of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, after being captured on bystander video kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes on May 25, 2020. 

The former Minneapolis officer's sentencing date has been pushed back more than a week from June 16 to June 25, Minnesota court records show as of Tuesday.

Because all three charges are for the same course of conduct, the sentence for the most serious count will determine how long Chauvin stays in prison. That crime is second-degree unintentional murder, and under Minnesota sentencing guidelines the presumptive sentence is 12 and a half years for a person without a criminal record.

Judge Peter Cahill could consider a heavier sentence up to the statutory maximum of 40 years based on a motion filed by the prosecution, or decide there are no aggravating factors and use his discretion to hand down a sentence as short as 10 years and 8 months, or as long as 15 years on the second-degree murder charge.     

Watch the prosecution team's full, uninterrupted interview below:

Prior to the trial, Blackwell worked exclusively in civil litigation. Having never before taken on a criminal case, he described his involvement as "an alligator in a saltwater crocodile pond." 

Blackwell is the founding partner of Blackwell Burke P.A., and a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. 

Schleicher has practiced as a prosecutor for over two decades. He's a partner at Maslon LLP, and served 13 years in the U.S. Attorney's Office.