MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge entered not guilty pleas on tax evasion charges Friday on behalf of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death, and for the officer’s ex-wife.
Washington County District Judge Sheridan Hawley also set the next court date in the case for Jan. 21. A trial date has not been set.
Derek Chauvin appeared via Zoom for the brief hearing from the state’s maximum security prison at Oak Park Heights, where he’s serving a 22 1/2-year sentence for his conviction in April for second-degree murder in the May 2020 death of Floyd. The white former officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
Sitting in a prison conference room and wearing a white T-shirt, Chauvin said little except “yes, your honor,” to answer routine questions from the judge. Kellie Chauvin appeared from a different location.
The nine felony tax evasion counts filed in July of 2020 allege that Derek and Kellie Chauvin underreported their joint income by $464,433 from 2014 through 2019, including more than $95,000 for his off-duty security work. Kellie Chauvin was a real estate agent and also operated a photography business. At the time, prosecutors said they owed $37,868 to the state, including unpaid taxes, interest and fees. Prosecutors have said the tax investigation began before Floyd’s death.
Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce shortly after Floyd’s death, and a judge approved the divorce last February under terms that were kept sealed. The judge rejected an initial proposed settlement that would have given Kellie Chauvin most of their property and money, which had fueled speculation that the Chauvins were trying to shield their assets,
Derek Chauvin also faces a separate federal civil rights trial, along with the three other former officers who still face trial in state court with aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd’s death. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to the civil rights charges and is appealing his murder conviction.