Derek Chauvin wrote the phone number for his lawyer on his hand before his guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd was handed down on Tuesday.
The former Minneapolis police officer, 45, was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter over the death Floyd, 46, during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
As he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, writing could be seen on his left hand.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, told TMZ that his client wrote the number on his hand ahead of time because he knew if he was found guilty of murder his bail would almost certainly be revoked and he would be taken into custody.
Chauvin, who had been in court many times, clearly knew if convicted he would be swiftly whisked away with no opportunity to speak to his lawyer after the verdict, and that while he would have limited access to a phone, he would be allowed to call his lawyer.
TMZ said Chauvin likely wrote the number on his hand because he was concerned if he wrote it on a piece of paper it might be confiscated when he was booked into jail.
Mr Nelson did not reveal what the nature of the phone call might be, but Chauvin is almost certain to appeal his conviction and would want to discuss the next steps with his lawyer.
He currently faces a maximum sentence of up to 75 years on all three charges, with his sentencing scheduled for two months time.
In his appeal, Chauvin would be likely to argue he did not receive a fair trial based on the widespread publicity surrounding the case, among other factors.
‘Verdict is very questionable’
High-profile defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz on Tuesday said the conviction should be overturned on appeal due to the public intimidation of the jury and the judge’s refusal to sequester the jury.
“The verdict is very questionable, because of the outside influences of people like Al Sharpton, and people like Maxine Waters,” he told Newsmax.
“Their threats and intimidation, and hanging the sword of Damocles over the jury, and basically saying if you don’t convict on the murder charge, on all the charges, the cities will burn, the country will be destroyed, seeped into the jury room because the judge made a terrible mistake by not sequestering the jury.”
Mr Dershowitz noted that Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill himself warned on Monday that the entire case may be overturned based on comments by Ms Waters, a Democratic Congresswoman.
Ms Waters travelled to Minneapolis over the weekend to speak to protesters, calling for them to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if Chauvin was acquitted.
Judge Cahill blasted Ms Waters’ comments, saying they were “disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function”.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” he told Mr Nelson on Monday.
Mr Dershowitz told Newsmax that “all Americans who care about due process and liberty should be concerned that the jury verdict may have been influenced by, if not the thumb, maybe even the elbow of the outside pressures, the fears, the threats”.
“Every juror in that room knew about those threats,” he said.
“And when they sit and deliberate, they have to be saying to themselves, consciously or unconsciously, if I were to render a verdict other than a murder verdict, what the consequences will be, for me, and my family, my friends, my business.”
He added, “That should never, ever, bellowed to seep into a jury room. So I have no real confidence that this verdict – which may be correct in some ways – but I have no confidence that this verdict was produced by due process and the rule of law, rather than the influence of the crowd.”