Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is in prison for murdering George Floyd, and his former wife pleaded not guilty to tax evasion charges Friday in Washington County District Court.
Judge Sheridan Hawley entered the pleas on their behalf after each waived a pretrial hearing in two brief remote sessions. Chauvin appeared from the Oak Park Heights prison, where he is serving a 22½-year sentence for Floyd's murder. He wore a white T-shirt and sat behind a clear partition while an unseen case worker sat across from him.
Chauvin and ex-wife Kellie Chauvin are scheduled to appear next in court at 1 p.m. Jan. 21 for another pretrial hearing. Neither spoke beyond responding affirmatively to Hawley's questions about agreeing to waive the hearing. The two court sessions lasted just a few minutes each.
The couple lived in Oakdale before Chauvin's arrest and conviction in Floyd's murder May 25, 2020, outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis.
The tax charges were filed by Washington County Attorney Pete Orput in July 2020, shortly after Chauvin gained global infamy because of a bystander's video showing him kneeling on Floyd's neck as Floyd lay prone on the street, pleading for his life and saying he couldn't breathe.
The former spouses face nine felony tax-evasion charges alleging that they underreported $464,433 in joint income from 2014 to 2019. The complaint alleges that $96,000 of Derek Chauvin's unreported income came from off-duty security jobs. With interest, late fees and fraud penalties, the complaint alleges they owe $37,868.
At the time he filed the charges, Orput said he had been sending the Chauvins letters about tax and income discrepancies since 2019 with no response. The prosecutor said the Minnesota Department of Revenue contacted his office about the tax issues in June 2020.
Among other purchases, prosecutors say the Chauvins bought a new BMW X5 in January 2018 for $100,230 from a Minnetonka dealership and registered the SUV in Florida, where the couple owned a condo.
The Chauvins paid $4,664 in Florida state taxes on the vehicle although, according to prosecutors, the BMW was serviced 11 times in Minnetonka and never in Florida. Had they registered the car in Minnesota, the taxes would have been $5,053.
Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce two days after Chauvin was charged in Floyd's murder. The divorce was approved in February by a Washington County judge, who redacted the settlement, citing harassment and financial fraud allegations against the couple.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747