Derek Chauvin's lawyer denied that he leaked information about a rejected plea deal to The New York Times

Derek Chauvin's lawyer denied that he leaked information about a rejected plea deal to The New York Times
Defense attorney Eric Nelson and Derek Chauvin introduce themselves to potential jurors on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.Court TV, via AP, Pool
  • Derek Chauvin's attorney denied leaking information to The New York Times in a March affidavit.
  • The Times had reported Chauvin was prepared to plead guilty before then-AG Bill Barr rejected a deal.
  • Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, now faces federal civil rights charges.

Eric Nelson, the attorney who represented Derek Chauvin at trial, said in an affidavit released Monday that he did not leak information about the case to The New York Times and doesn't know who did.

In February, ahead of Chauvin's trial for the murder of George Floyd, The New York Times' Tim Arango reported that then-Attorney General Bill Barr had rejected an attempt at a plea deal in the case.

Chauvin was willing to plead guilty to a murder charge in Minnesota and serve 10 years in prison as long as the federal government agreed not to pursue civil rights charges, Arango reported at the time. Barr rejected the deal, according to the report, fearing it would look too lenient to protesters.

In an affidavit signed March 2 - before Chauvin's trial began - Nelson said that Arango had contacted him by email several times. But Nelson denied he was the source of the leak, saying he declined to comment for the story.

Nelson's co-counsel, Amy Voss, also signed an affidavit denying she was a source for the Times' article.


The court documents released Monday include copies of emails Arango sent Nelson in January and February seeking comment. On January 27, he offered to meet up for an "off-the-record chat" to introduce himself. On Feb. 10, he followed up, explaining the contents of his upcoming story.

"Please let me know if you wish to comment, or if there is any context you think I'm missing (even if on background)," he wrote.

In April, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, and is facing up to 40 years in prison.

Chauvin and the three other officers on the scene of Floyd's death have also been indicted on federal civil rights charges. Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tao Thao are accused of violating Floyd's right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force. All four officers were also charged with failing to provide Floyd with medical care.

Chauvin faces a second federal indictment stemming from his actions in the violent arrest of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.