Florida man pleads guilty to threatening Derek Chauvin’s lawyer

MIAMI — A South Florida man pleaded guilty Wednesday to threatening the defense attorney of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

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William John Hartnett, 42, of Coral Gables, pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting a threat through interstate communications, according to a news release on Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Hartnett will be sentenced on Dec. 15, according to the release. He faces up to five years in prison.

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According to prosecutors, on April 6, 2021, Hartnett called the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which was paying for Chauvin’s defense. The 18-second message included several obscenity-laden threats against Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, the news release stated.

Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after the officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020.

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A judge sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison on June 25, 2021.