The verdict for the Derek Chauvin trial was announced before 5pm eastern time - just hours after Joe Biden said he was “praying for the right” outcome and he said the evidence against the cop was “overwhelming”.Biden on Tuesday made a series of comments as the jury began its second day of deliberations in the Chauvin case. The verdict is set to come down less than 24 hours after members of the jury were retired.
Hennepin County Court's website said in a notice “A verdict has been reached and will be read between 3:30-4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.”
Chauvin was initially charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd's death. He has pleaded not guilty, but was expected to face over 12 years in prison for the most serious of charges.
“I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict. Which is – I think it's overwhelming in my view,' Biden told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning. 'I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
The White House later claimed Biden was not advocating for a particular verdict but expressing compassion for the Floyd family.
“I don't think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her press briefing. ‘He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family.”
She implied Biden would have more to say after the verdict is rendered. Biden is weighing an address to the nation, according to reports.
“I expect that he will weigh in more, further, once there is a verdict and I'm not going to provide additional analysis on what he meant,” Psaki said, declining to clarify if Biden wanted Chauvin found guilty on all charges.
She defended Biden’s comments, saying the president had been closely following the trial, had gotten close to the Floyd family and waited to speak until the jury was sequestered.
Biden called Floyd's brother Philonise on Monday after the jury went behind closed doors for their debates on the charges of murder and manslaughter against Chauvin. The president mentioned that he waited until the jury was behind doors to make the call and to comment on the case.
“I've come to know George's family, can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they're feeling.”
Biden has denounced Floyd's death but had stopped short of taking sides on the trial until now. His extraordinary comments came as the 12-member jury began its second day behind closed doors and the nation awaited the decision.