[Source: Court TV]
Celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher explains hot button trending criminal cases in a legal think tank on Court TV.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota defense attorneys in the George Floyd murder case go on the offensive, looking for more bodycam footage of George Floyd from a prior drug arrest in 2019. But the question tonight, should a jury at the officer’s murder trial get to see it?
When lawyers file motions, there’s a reason behind it and it gives you an indication of what’s coming up next. The defense wants to get their hands on some additional pieces of evidence that they want to present to the judge and ultimately to the jury in the trial. And one thing relates to an incident from May 6, 2019, where George Floyd is arrested. They want the bodycam footage of all of this, of where they say according to information that they have, that George Floyd was arrested and as he’s arrested, he placed the drugs in his mouth to avoid arrest.
He possesses drugs, is approached by police, takes the drugs, and ingests them. They then say that he was treated for accidental drug ingestion, was taken to the hospital, and during the course of this arrest, he was tearful and very emotional. They want the body cam of this. Why? Because they want to put this in front of the jury. And the question tonight is, should the jury see it? Is it relevant? Well, this is how they’re going to argue it’s relevant because it’s completely parallel with their theory on what happened to George Floyd. Remember, they’re saying George Floyd died of an overdose. Wasn’t a knee on the neck, it was fentanyl in his system and the fentanyl that they say was on his tongue during this arrest, that they say he ingested when police approached.
They are claiming that’s fentanyl
. They’re claiming that he put it in his mouth when police approached and what they are going to argue to the judge to get it in front of the jury is that this is what he does. This is his mode of operation. He’s about to be confronted by police, he’s illegally possessing drugs so he ingests them, just like he did back in 2019. That’s where the defense wants to go. That’s what they want to argue.
Let’s bring in our legal think tank tonight to see if they think it’s a valid argument, number one. And number two, if a judge will permit it. Is it relevant? Is it fair? Joining us tonight, Criminal Defense Attorney Ecleynne Mercy, Darryl Cohen, former prosecutor, now defense attorney, also does some entertainment law, and Christopher C. Melcher, joining us from Los Angeles, California, a top family law attorney and trial attorney.
Christopher, let me put something else on the screen, something else that the defense wants to get in front of this jury. Okay? August 9th, 2007, this is back in Texas. Okay? 2007. George Floyd apparently pretended to be a water company employee, then held a woman at gunpoint, and was ultimately convicted of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. They want to put that in front of the jury as well, Christopher.
“Yeah, I just found that was a play too dirty him up, to make him look bad. It’s totally irrelevant. I think there’s no chance that’s getting before a jury. I’m offended that they’re bringing that up. I don’t see any parallels, like in the other situation there’s parallels. I still don’t think it gets to the jury, but this one is clearly designed to change public opinion about him. Something that he did long ago. Sure, if he did that, it was a bad thing, but has absolutely nothing to do with this incident. So I think that’s way out of bounds,” says celebrity divorce lawyer Christopher C. Melcher.
Christopher, let me ask you if in fact, let’s say the judge permits the body cam footage from May 6, 2019, where George Floyd in that case ingests drugs as police are approaching, has to be taken to the hospital. His demeanor is very tearful, much like the body cam we see in this case, how do you think that impacts a jury? What does a jury do with that? Does that make the jury believe that George Floyd ingested fentanyl and died from a fentanyl overdose?
“No, I mean, to me, that would only support what I believe happened. This started as a call over a fake $20.00 bill and once they got him into handcuffs, it was clear that this was a distress call. This man needed medical assistance. Officer Lane said he noticed some foam in the mouth, you could see from the body cam video that was released, I believe it was today, some white substance on the corner of his mouth. And so they should have known through training that he could have ingested drugs and this should have been a medical call, and so if he has done the same thing in the past it would only support the fact that this was a medical situation, not a violent person who needed to be treated that way. So to me, I understand what they’re trying to do, and flip the narrative, and blame the victim, but to me, it only supports the fact that this person needed help and they failed to help him,” explains California family law attorney Christopher C. Melcher of top family law firm Walzer Melcher.
We’ve got a video to show you of a 17-year-old with an AR-15 who’s been charged with murder, but our question is going to be, is it murder or is it self defense?
He’s now been charged with murder and apparently shot, or is accused of shooting a couple of demonstrators, or protesters, or riders, whatever you want to call them. People use all these different words, but from the complaint against him, this is part of what we are learning from some of the reports, is that Joseph Rosenbaum, who’s 36 years old, followed this young man, Rittenhouse, into a used car lot. Now Rittenhouse has the gun, he’s got the AR-15 with him, where he threw a plastic bag at the teenager and attempted to take his weapon. The medical examiner found that Rosenbaum was shot in the groin, back, and hand, and also suffered a superficial wound to his left thigh, and a graze wound to his forehead.
Rittenhouse, after that first shooting, then runs down the street and was chased by several people who shouted that he had shot someone before he tripped, fell, according to the complaint and the video footage.
All right, that’s Kyle Rittenhouse, 17 years old. You see him with his hands up, but police did not take him into custody. They were going to respond to the shooting. He’s in Illinois now, there’s got to be an extradition. It looks like it’s been put off for some time because he’s getting private counsel now. He is locked up tonight but in Illinois. Let’s bring in the think tank and talk about this one because his attorneys have said publicly that this is a case of self-defense, self-defense. That he was approached and attacked first by Joseph Rosenbaum and then is running away and again is attacked once more. Christopher Melcher, I’ll start with you. What do you see when you see that video? Do you see self-defense? Do you see murder?
“Well, we certainly don’t know what happened in the first incident, but on that second one, yeah he’s being chased. He’s fallen. People are saying, “Go get him.” And so certainly he’s at some risk at that point, but I didn’t see that anyone else was pointing a weapon at him. So, to be able to use deadly force, you have to be in some reasonable fear that, that type of force is going to be used against you or somebody else. That seems like it’s going to be a hard one. What I was surprised about though, was that how the police drove past him, when he was walking with a weapon down the street with his hands up, flagging the police. We have other people identifying him as the shooter and then we have the police driving past them. I found it remarkable he even had that much trouble even getting arrested,” says top family law attorney Christopher C. Melcher.
Christopher, what do you think of what the chief had to say that the officers, everyone was telling him to get out of the way, because they’re going to respond to the shooting? The problem is that the shooter is walking past them.
“Yeah, I think that really gets down to this inherent bias and stereotyping. I hate to criticize the police because I am a supporter of the police, but I think ultimately some of the root causes of these problems is how we detect or view threats. And if that was an African-American man walking down the street with a weapon, would they have drove past him or would they have stopped him? And I hate to call that out, but why is he not viewed a threat? And why are other people stopped even if they don’t have a weapon? So, I just found it remarkable, and I understand it’s chaotic, there’s a lot going on, but even just for officer’s safety standpoint, to drive past somebody who has a long rifle, that puts all of those officers who are now… have their backs to him at risk. So even if he was not a threat, they shouldn’t have allowed him to be behind them. That just placed them at risk. So, I have a lot of trouble with it,” says celebrity divorce lawyer Christopher C. Melcher.
It’s been a tough week, a really tough week. Baby Evelyn, that beautiful little girl from Tennessee, went missing was found dead on her family’s property. Well, her teenage mother was back in court today. The question is when we get to the trial, what is this trial going to be about? What’s it going to be like? Is it going to be a trial about a beautiful little girl who was murdered? Or is it going to be about a young girl who had a baby, a young girl who had parents in a home where she was abused? Is it going to be about a girl who had parents who had run-ins with the law? I’m talking about the teenage mother of baby Evelyn. Let’s bring back in our think tank.
Christopher, my concern here is, I covered a case, I’m not going to say the name, but she was the most hated woman in America. She had a beautiful daughter named Kaylee Marie, and she lied, and proven lies, and just like this mother lied, but at the end of the day the jury sent her home. Amazingly. I’m just afraid that could happen here again.
“Yeah, it’s amazing and we’ve all seen it before. To me, at least the way that I think is that those lies should come back to haunt Megan, that she did impede, she did delay the investigation. This was her own child, this 15-month-old child that she had raised. And instead of acknowledging whatever happened, she lied about it, tried to blame other people for it. So to me, that shows somebody who’s heartless, who didn’t care about this child, but I’m always shocked that somebody could be fooled on a jury to think that these stories about her background that may have led her to do whatever she did to this child is somehow justification for the crime to say that she’s not guilty. And it’s infuriating, but I’m hoping that common sense will prevail and you see that somebody who lied in one respect should not be trusted in any respect regarding their child,” says celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher.
We’re going to continue to track this one. It’s on our docket here at Court TV. Next court date coming up is December 3rd, 2020. December 3rd, 2020, trial date to be determined.