Alternate juror in Chauvin trial says 1 prosecution witness 'really got to me'

A person holds a sign celebrating Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As an alternate juror in the Derek Chauvin trial, Lisa Christensen listened to all of the testimony and saw all of the evidence, without having a say in the verdict. Now that the trial is over, she has become the first person chosen for the jury to speak publicly, and in an interview with CBS This Morning on Thursday, Christensen said she believes Chauvin's conviction was fair.

"I felt he was guilty," she said. "I didn't know it would have been guilty on all counts, but I would have said guilty." Last May, Chauvin was recorded arresting George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man, after he was suspected of trying to pass a fake $20 bill. His knee was on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, and Christensen said she was moved by the testimony from prosecution witness Dr. Martin Tobin, a critical care physician and pulmonologist who is an expert in the physiology of breathing.

Tobin described how Chauvin's use of force slowly suffocated Floyd, who was pinned with his stomach on the ground and hands cuffed behind his back. That "really did it for me," Christensen said. "I understood it, down to where he said this was the moment that [Floyd] lost his life. That really got to me." As for the defense team, Christensen said they didn't have "a good impact," and attorney Eric Nelson "over-promised in the beginning and didn't live up to what he said he was going to do."

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Christensen was dismissed on Monday when the jury went to deliberations. The next day, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter; he will be sentenced in eight weeks. Christensen told CBS This Morning she is still trying to grasp how the situation escalated the way it did. "I just don't understand how it got from a counterfeit $20 bill to a death," she said. "It kind of shocks me."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.