Following Chauvin’s attorney telling jurors that an enlarged heart may have been the cause of Floyd’s death in their closing remarks, Blackwell said to the jury, “You were told … that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. …The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”
The jury convicted Chauvin of murder and manslaughter and sentenced him to 22.5 years in prison. He later pleaded guilty to a federal count of violating Floyd’s rights and is awaiting sentencing for that.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who served on the selection committee that recommended Blackwell, spoke about his excellent track record and commitment to justice.
"Jerry Blackwell is widely respected and loved within the Minnesota legal community," said Klobuchar. "His extensive trial experience—including the successful prosecution of the murder of George Floyd—makes him an excellent choice to be a U.S. District Court Judge. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to confirm him."
Blackwell helped secure the state's first posthumous pardon in the case of Max Mason, a Black circus worker convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman in Duluth in 1920 despite no evidence of a crime.
Blackwell earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1987 and was one of the founders of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.
A founding partner of the law firm Blackwell Burke, Blackwell was among seven people Biden nominated Wednesday for positions on federal appellate and district courts.