CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first week of the Derek Chauvin murder trial is in the record. Gavel to gavel, America has been tuning in to a week full of emotional testimony, trauma, evidence, and arguments.
"This is probably one of most consequential cases in the digital era," said Steve Friedland, a former federal prosecutor, and current Elon University Law Professor.
"This was extremely traumatic, emotional, a roller coaster ride for those who are watching and those who are participating," he added.
From gut-wrenching videos with numerous angles to witnesses breaking down on the witness stand as they explained what they saw, emotions have been high.
Friedland said prosecutors aren't trying to draw minutes of emotion, but it could ultimately impact a jury.
"It's not that the prosecution is making extra efforts to get out the emotion, it's trying to personalize that there was a person killed," he said.
The defense team, Friedland said, is laser-focused on sewing doubt about two things.
First, what exactly killed Floyd?
"The defense is arguing is what due to physical ailments and drugs. Not the knee on the neck. And the second part is the necessity for restraint," he explained.
Friedland said much like prosecutors have personalized Floyd, in the coming weeks, the defense will likely personalize Chauvin. He said it's because defense attorneys believe it's harder to convict a person than just a defendant.
"Each side is really creating a story. it's recreating reality," he said.
Friedland said it's a good reminder to everyone watching that it doesn't necessarily matter what we as viewers think, it's what the jury thinks.
He also wants to point out that during this first week, it seems one-sided because the prosecution team is laying out their case. Later, the defense will lay out their side, working to chip away at the prosecutors' case to increase doubt.