Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning, after which the case will be handed over to the jury.
Chauvin, with his Covid-19 mask removed in a rare courtroom moment, told the judge that he would not testify, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
It would have been Chauvin's first time telling his side of the story in public.
“Have you decided not to testify?” Judge Peter Cahill was the one who inquired.
Chauvin replied, “It is, your honor.”
The prosecution called back a lung and critical care specialist to refute a defense witness' claim that Floyd's death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from a squad car's exhaust. Hospital tests revealed Floyd's level was at most 2%, which was within the normal range, according to Dr. Martin Tobin.
With that, both sides had concluded their arguments.
The racially diverse jury will begin deliberating at the barbed-wire-ringed courthouse after closing arguments, with Minneapolis on high alert for a repeat of the demonstrations and violence that erupted last spring over Floyd's murder.
“If I were you, I would prepare for long and hope for short,” Cahill said, reminding the jurors that they would be sequestered beginning Tuesday.
The possibility of Chauvin testifying was the topic of weeks of speculation.
The stakes were high: testifying may have exposed him to damaging cross-examination, with prosecutors replaying the arrest video and asking Chauvin to justify why he kept pushing down on Floyd, one frame at a time.
However, taking the stand may have allowed the jury to see or hear any guilt or sympathy he might have felt. He'd be able to take off the mask he'd been forced to wear at the defense table.
Derek Chauvin is accused of kneeling on George Floyd's neck and killing him, but his attorneys claim that substance use and heart disease were to blame. Breakfast is the source of this information.
The jury heard body-camera video from the scene last May, which was the only time Chauvin was publicly heard defending himself. “We gotta monitor this man 'cause he's a sizable guy... and it looks like he's probably on something,” Chauvin told a bystander after an ambulance had taken Floyd away.
Floyd's decision to not testify came a day after a forensic pathologist testifying for the defense said he died of a sudden heart rhythm disruption caused by his heart disease. Floyd died of a lack of oxygen as a result of the way he was pinned down, according to prosecution experts.
Dr. David Fowler, a defense witness, testified yesterday that opioid and methamphetamine in Floyd's system, as well as possible carbon monoxide poisoning, were contributing factors in Floyd's death last May.
Fowler also testified that, unlike the county's chief medical examiner, he would classify the cause of death as "undetermined." Floyd's death, he said, had so many competing causes, some of which could be classified as murder and others as accidental.
After being arrested on suspicion of moving a counterfeit US$20 (NZ$28) at a neighborhood market, Chauvin, 45, was charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. The video of Floyd gasping for air as bystanders screamed at Chauvin to get off him sparked worldwide demonstrations, abuse, and a frenzied analysis of racism and policing in the United States.
Attorney Eric Nelson for Chauvin has claimed that the 19-year Minneapolis cop did his job and that Floyd died as a result of his illicit drug use and underlying health issues.
Floyd died, according to prosecutors, as a result of the white officer's knee being pushed against Floyd's neck or neck area for 9 1/2 minutes while he laid on the pavement on his back, his hands cuffed behind him, and his face pressed against the ground.
However, according to Fowler, Chauvin's knee on Floyd was "nowhere near his airway," and Floyd's speaking and groaning indicated that his airway was still open. He also testified that Chauvin's knee was not pressed down hard enough on Floyd's neck or back to cause any bruises or scrapes.