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Twin Cities attorney Jerry Blackwell nominated for federal judgeship

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that Blackwell is a candidate for the U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

ST PAUL, Minn. — A prominent Twin Cities attorney is among seven candidates for federal judicial posts announced Wednesday by the Biden administration. 

Jerry Blackwell is a founding partner of Blackwell Burke, which formed in 2006. He has more than three decades of legal experience, but is best known to Minnesotans and people around the globe as a prominent member of the prosecution team that won the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in April of 2021. 

Blackwell was called on by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to join the team that would shape the prosecution of Chauvin. He was credited for delivering a stirring closing argument in the high-profile trial, and did all his work pro bono. 

After Chauvin's attorney told jurors that an enlarged heart may have contributed to Floyd's death, Blackwell left jurors with these final words: “You were told … that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. … The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.”

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith convened the judicial selection committee that recommended Blackwell to the president, citing his years of experience and commitment to equal justice. 

“Jerry Blackwell is widely respected and loved within the Minnesota legal community. His extensive trial experience – including the successful prosecution of the murder of George Floyd – makes him an excellent choice to be a U.S. District Court Judge," Klobuchar said in a prepared statement.

In 2020, Blackwell also won a posthumous pardon for Max Mason, a Black man who was convicted of raping a white Duluth woman in 1920. The alleged rape led a white mob to lynch three other Black men.

A news release from Klobuchar's office says Blackwell was chosen from a list of three Minnesota candidates recommended by the selection committee, which was made up of five prominent members of Minnesota's legal community. 

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