Chauvin prosecutor Jerry Blackwell wins Senate confirmation as federal judge

A man speaks from behind a desk.
Jerry Blackwell speaks to a judge on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Screenshot of Court TV video

The prosecutor who helped make the case to convict Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd has won Senate confirmation to be Minnesota's newest federal judge.

Jerry Blackwell was nominated in June to replace Susan Richard Nelson, who moved to senior status. He came to public attention in 2021 as he offered the opening statements and closing arguments in the Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.

A man stands along train tracks
Jerry Blackwell walks through the woods to nearby railroad tracks on his farm property in Jordan, Minn., on May 15, 2021.
Riham Feshir | MPR News file

Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar told MPR News on Thursday that Blackwell was a good choice who won backing from both Republicans and Democrats in a Senate vote Wednesday.

“I think everyone got to know him when they saw his extraordinary work in the prosecution of the George Floyd murder case,” Klobuchar said. “But for people in the legal community, he'd been a star for a long time. Thirty-five years of trial experience, and we are just so excited that he got confirmed with such a strong bipartisan vote.”

Blackwell is the third Black judge to sit on the federal bench in Minnesota, including current Judge Wilhelmina Wright and Michael Davis, a former chief judge.

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