At It Again! NBC Hides Alleged Juror Misconduct in Chauvin Trial

News & Politics

Almost two weeks after NewsBusters caught NBC Nightly News deceptively editing 911 audio from a police shooting, they were back it again on Tuesday. That evening, anchor Lester “fairness is overrated” Holt failed to share a breaking development that could possibly throw the murder and manslaughter verdicts against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin into question. In reporting on the request for a retrial, Holt refused to note the possibility of juror misconduct.

On Tuesday, a photo surfaced featuring juror Brandon Mitchell wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt and hat along with word that he had attended a rally in Washington, D.C. where the family of George Floyd spoke. It was an inconvenient controversy that Holt hid from his viewers:

And just in this evening, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filed an appeal for a new trial, two weeks after he was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd. His lawyer says Chauvin’s ability to have a fair trial was affected by pretrial publicity.

Note how Holt only cited “pretrial publicity” as the reason for the defense’s filing. And he only gave the story 17 seconds.

In stark contrast, ABC’s World News Tonight gave the controversy 2 minutes and 15 seconds of airtime.

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“Late today, filing a motion on several grounds including what they claim is jury misconduct,” announced ABC anchor David Muir at the top of the segment. “It comes as a photo has surfaced showing one of the jurors wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and cap and attending a march in Washington, during which members of George Floyd’s family spoke.”

As a follow-up to Muir, correspondent Alex Perez added more detail to the allegations of misconduct:

PEREZ: Tonight, Brandon Mitchell, 1 of 12 jurors who convicted former cop Derek Chauvin of killing George Floyd, is defending his impartiality as a juror after this picture of him last August resurfaced online; at the March on Washington, commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech.” An event where George Floyd’s family members were among the speakers.

PHILONISE FLOYD: I’m marching for George.

PEREZ: Mitchell, wearing a shirt with a picture of Dr. King and the words, “Get your knee off our necks” and “BLM.”

Perez also recalled that “Mitchell, during selection, answered ‘No’ when asked if he participated in demonstrations about police use of force.”

And while CBS Evening News only gave the development a news brief lasting 35 seconds, anchor Norah O’Donnell did note the march and the shirt.

But when combined, the reports of ABC and CBS showed a pretty big problem with Mitchell’s defense of his attendance at the march:

PEREZ: Mitchell told the Minneapolis Star Tribune his attendance in D.C. was “100% not” a march for George Floyd, and directly related to MLK’s march in the ’60s.

O’DONNELL: While the juror who spoke out after the verdict tells our CBS station WCCO he was in D.C. for a voter registration rally not a protest.

NBC could have done the right thing by being fair, but Holt has admitted he’s not about that life.

NBC continued refusal to inform viewers about the facts of race related stories was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships Consumer Cellular and TD Ameritrade. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they fund.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

NBC Nightly News
May 4, 2021
7:08:16 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: And just in this evening, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filed an appeal for a new trial, two weeks after he was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd. His lawyer says Chauvin’s ability to have a fair trial was affected by pretrial publicity.

ABC’s World News Tonight
May 4, 2021
6:40:59 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: In the meantime, we’re going to turn to that breaking headline I mentioned off the top tonight. Late today, involving Derek Chauvin after that guilty verdict. Lawyers for the Minneapolis police officer tonight are now asking for a new trial.

Late today, filing a motion on several grounds including what they claim is jury misconduct. It comes as a photo has surfaced showing one of the jurors wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and cap and attending a march in Washington, during which members of George Floyd’s family spoke. Here’s ABC’s Alex Perez tonight, of course, following the case from the start for us.

[Cuts to video]

ALEX PEREZ: Tonight, Brandon Mitchell, 1 of 12 jurors who convicted former cop Derek Chauvin of killing George Floyd, is defending his impartiality as a juror after this picture of him last August resurfaced online; at the March on Washington, commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech.” An event where George Floyd’s family members were among the speakers.

PHILONISE FLOYD: I’m marching for George.

PEREZ: Mitchell, wearing a shirt with a picture of Dr. King and the words, “Get your knee off our necks” and “BLM.” After the guilty verdict, Mitchell, telling our Robin Roberts, that video of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck was key.

BRANDON MITCHELL: The video is – it’s a historic video, unfortunately. And seeing the multiple angles of it from the body cam, from the other cell phones, it was probably the most important piece of evidence.

PEREZ: During jury selection, the defense read what Mitchell wrote on his questionnaire about the trial. Mitchell, during selection, answered “No” when asked if he participated in demonstrations about police use of force. Mitchell told the Minneapolis Star Tribune his attendance in D.C. was “100% not” a march for George Floyd, and directly related to MLK’s march in the ’60s.

Tonight, Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson filing this motion for a new trial citing a number of reasons, including jury misconduct.

[Cuts back to live]

And David, that defense motion for a new trial is expected in high profile cases like this one. The prosecution has already responded, saying they will vigorously oppose that motion. As for the juror, Brandon Mitchell, he says the decision to convict was based solely on the evidence. David?

MUIR: All right, Alex Perez again tonight. Thank you, Alex.

CBS Evening News
May 4, 2021
6:39:23 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: And there is breaking news tonight from Minnesota, where Derek Chauvin’s lawyer has filed a motion for a new trial in the murder of George Floyd, citing juror misconduct. Now, the accusation comes after a photo surfaced of one of the jurors, Brandon Mitchell, at a march in Washington last summer where Floyd’s family spoke. Mitchell can be seen wearing a t-shirt reading: “Get your knee off our necks.”

While the juror who spoke out after the verdict tells our CBS station WCCO he was in D.C. for a voter registration rally not a protest.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer faces up to 40 years in prison at his sentencing next month.

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