Attorney who helped prosecute ex-officer Chauvin nominated to be US District Court judge

An attorney who helped the state during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last year has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be a federal judge.

According to a news release from the White House Wednesday morning, Jerry Blackwell has been named as a judicial nominee to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Blackwell was among seven nominees named by Biden on Wednesday. The nominees are for multiple judicial positions across the country in both circuit and district courts.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota serves the entire state and has four staffed divisional offices located throughout Minnesota. The district has seven authorized district judges, six senior district judges, seven magistrate judges and a part-time magistrate judge in addition to other staff members.

As previously reported, Blackwell was brought onto the Floyd case by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office and worked pro bono.

RELATED: 4 attorneys to join Ellison’s prosecution team on pro bono basis in Floyd case

Blackwell also founded the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and won the state’s first-ever posthumous pardon for Max Mason, a man wrongly convicted of rape in connection to the Duluth lynchings of 1920.

Blackwell, who helped found Blackwell Burke and has worked there since 2006, previously was a partner at Blackwell Igbanugo in Minneapolis.

He will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“Jerry Blackwell is widely respected and loved within the Minnesota legal community,” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said in a statement. “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. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to confirm him.”

“With more than three decades of legal experience, Jerry Blackwell is exceptionally well-qualified to be a U.S. District Court Judge,” U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) added. “I am confident that his experience and commitment to equal justice will make him an excellent federal judge. I want to congratulate him on his nomination and I look forward to working with my colleagues to confirm him to this post.”

According to the senators, Blackwell was chosen from a group of candidates that included former Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Minnesota Vikings great Alan Page and others.