Defense medical expert pins George Floyd’s death on several factors, not Chauvin’s actions

“Today was really when the defense needed to shine if they were going to be successful, and I don’t think they achieved that goal,” said Mark Osler, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas. “Their primary witness, David Fowler, on the medical issues certainly said there were other things that caused the death but on cross-examination had to concede some important points, and in the end also noted the officers could’ve tried to save the life of George Floyd and failed to do so.”

Fowler testified he would’ve ruled the manner of Floyd’s death “undetermined” based on many factors involved, including Floyd’s enlarged heart and heart disease, drug use, the officers’ restraint, presence of adrenaline because of the restraint and the possibility of carbon monoxide exposure.

Nelson questioned Fowler about the possibility of CO poisoning based on Floyd’s proximity to the tailpipe.

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“I think that was somewhat undermined in the cross-examination, that he couldn’t point to any data that carbon monoxide played a major role in causing the death,” Osler said.

The defense seems to be nearing the end of its case, according to Osler. It could wrap up on Thursday. 

It’s unclear whether Chauvin will testify. 

“That’s still the question mark, isn’t it?” Osler said. “I think it’s unlikely that he would, but we have to remember it’s Derek Chauvin’s choice.”

Once the defense rests, he explained the state could call rebuttal witnesses. 

“They could bring Dr. Tobin back, he (is) certainly a highly effective witness the first time,” Osler said. “They may also call some fact witnesses.”

Closing arguments are expected on Monday.