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Derek Chauvin trial: Key people in the courtroom

You'll see these faces if you watch the live stream of the Derek Chauvin trial. Here's what you need to know.

MINNEAPOLIS — On March 8, jury selection begins in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, whose death was captured on bystander video and seen around the world.

RELATED: Activist coalition announces protest set for Day 1 of Chauvin trial

The trial will be the highest-profile one in Minnesota history, and much of it will be live streamed for the public to view. Here is a rundown of the key players and faces you might see - and who they are.


The defendant Derek Chauvin was a Minneapolis police officer for 18 and a half years before he was charged with killing George Floyd.

Credit: KARE
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.


Chauvin is represented by attorney Eric Nelson. He's been involved in high-profile cases such as defending Amy Senser for vehicular homicide in 2011. Nelson is part of a group of Twin Cities attorneys who take turns representing police officers in criminal cases.

Credit: KARE
Derek Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson.


At the prosecution table, Matthew Frank and Neal Katyal will be most visible. Frank has been an assistant attorney general for 21 years. Katyal is an east-coast attorney and former Acting Solicitor General. 

Credit: AP Images
Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank will help to prosecute Derek Chauvin.
Credit: AP Images
Neal Katyal is part of the team prosecuting Derek Chauvin.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison may be present in the courtroom, but is not expected to take part in questioning witnesses.

Credit: AP Images

Two other prosecuting attorneys will be assisting pro bono: Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher. Blackwell is the founding partner of Blackwell Burke P.A., and a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. Schleicher is a partner at Maslon LLP and served 13 years in the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Credit: Courtesy Minnesota AG's Office
Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher are assisting in the prosecution of Derek Chauvin on a pro bono basis.


Judge Peter Cahill will preside. He was appointed to the bench in 2007. For 10 years before that, he was one of Hennepin County's top prosecutors.

Credit: KARE
Judge Peter Cahill was appointed to the bench in 2007.


Three other former officers are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death: Tou Thao, J, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. Their trial is not until August, but they are on the prosecution’s witness list. If called to testify, they can “plead the fifth” and avoid answering questions if they think it would hurt them in their upcoming trial.

Credit: AP Images
J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

One key witness will be Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County's Chief Medical Examiner since 2004. He performed the autopsy and ruled that Floyd died from cardiopulmonary arrest caused by the Chauvin's restraint. But he added drugs and heart disease as other significant conditions, leaving cause of death as the most contentious issue to be argued in the trial.

Credit: KARE
Dr. Andrew Baker, the chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

KARE 11 will have in-depth coverage on the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Follow Lou Raguse for real-time updates and read more on the KARE 11 website.

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