Imprisoned former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin must hire a lawyer before he can make oral arguments in the appeal of his murder conviction in the death of George Floyd, the Minnesota Court of Appeals said Friday.
"Because (Chauvin) is currently unrepresented in this appeal, oral argument is not permitted," Judge Matthew Johnson wrote. "If (Chauvin) later obtains counsel, however, he may file a motion with this court requesting oral argument."
Chauvin, who is serving 22½ years in prison at Oak Park Heights, claims he is indigent, but state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea this week denied his request for an appellate public defender, saying he failed to prove he could not afford a lawyer.
Previously, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill had also denied Chauvin's request for a free appellate lawyer.
Chauvin was convicted in Hennepin County District Court in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death.
If he isn't allowed to make oral arguments, Chauvin only could make his appeal in writing. He has already submitted a claim to the appellate court raising 14 issues.
In a signed affidavit claiming poverty and petitioning for a free public defender, Chauvin wrote that he is $142,000 in debt and lacks income.
"My only assets are two retirement accounts," he wrote. "If I take funds from said accounts, I will be significantly penalized, and the remainder will likely be taken to pay off debts. I also owe the IRS about $60,000 and the state about $37,000."
His affidavit didn't indicate how much he has in those accounts.
Chauvin, who is accused of federal civil rights violations in Floyd's death and an unrelated case, also faces state tax evasion charges with his former wife, Kellie. The couple divorced after Chauvin was charged with killing Floyd.
The Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association paid for Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson on the state charges. Nelson declined to comment this week on whether he would represent Chauvin on appeal.