Florida Man Guilty Of Chauvin Lawyer Threat In Floyd Case

MIAMI (AP) — A Florida man has pleaded guilty to threatening to kill a lawyer who represented the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the death of George Floyd.

William John Hartnett made the threat in a phone call from Miami on April 6, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Thursday.

Hartnett, 42, faces a maximum of five years in prison at his sentencing Dec. 15. He pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting a threat through interstate communications.

Prosecutors said Hartnett called the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which was paying for ex-officer Derek Chauvin's defense. The 18-second message included several obscenity-laden threats against Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense lawyer.

Chauvin was convicted in April of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter for killing Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020. Floyd's death sparked protests nationwide and calls for police reforms intended to reduce confrontation and violence.