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What did Derek Chauvin's lawyer say about space aliens? Twitter reacts to Eric Nelson quote

Olivia Olphin April 21, 2021
Derek Chauvin lawyer space aliens
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

What did Derek Chauvin’s lawyer mean when he talked about space aliens? Last night former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder for the death of George Floyd in May last year. In the closing statements of the defence, Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, made comments about space aliens as an argument to illustrate reasonable doubt. We give you all the information about these remarks.

What did Eric Nelson say about space aliens?

In the defence’s closing statement at the George Floyd trial, Derek Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson used the phrase: “space aliens flew in, inhabited the body of Derek Chauvin and caused this death”.

Many people avidly following the trial livestream were confused to hear this phrase being used as part of a defence in court.

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Nelson used the example of “space aliens” to explain the burden of proof to the jury, as well as explaining “reasonable doubt”. He called the example of space aliens inhabiting Chauvin’s body as “obviously fanciful and capricious” and thus could not be a basis for reasonable doubt.

He then linked the “presumption of innocence” with “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. These terms were then relevant to his concluding argument that the evidence given about George Floyd’s oxygen levels was, he claimed, not robust enough and asked the jury to “compare the evidence against itself, test it, challenge it”.

The jury had to prove that Derek Chauvin was guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, stated:

“As you analyze the evidence in this case, you would simply have to find that any defense that has been advanced is unreasonable.”

Eric Nelson also stated:

“I submit to you that the state has failed to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It appears that the comments about space aliens were to define the “burden of proof” to the jury and to emphasise that Chauvin did “not have to prove his innocence” in court.

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Twitter reacts to Chauvin lawyer’s ‘space aliens’ quip

Eric Nelson’s comments about space aliens have sparked some controversy on among Twitter users.

One user was completely bemused by this use of language.

Another felt quite angry about the use of this example.

Other users found the comedic potential in these comments.

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Olivia Olphin is an English Literature graduate and a film and literature fanatic. She has many years of reviewing experience, recently working as accredited press for the London Film Festival. She has also written widely about culture and sex education, as well as LGBTQ+ and women's issues.