Eric Nelson is defending Derek Chauvin in trial -- but another attorney with the same name as Chauvin's lawyer is getting mistaken for him... and it's causing a whole lot of grief, and potential danger.
Eric C. Nelson -- a Minneapolis-based family law attorney -- tells TMZ ... people think he's the Eric Nelson defending Chauvin against murder charges right now. It's easy to see how this happens -- same names, same profession and practicing in the same area.
Still, Nelson tells us he wants to set the record straight ... because the deluge of hate and harassment he's getting a result of the mistaken identity is becoming overwhelming, both personally and professionally.
We're told Nelson has been getting BLOWN-UP lately -- both online and over the phone. He says about 95% of calls coming in these days are from randos who think he's the other Nelson, and just wanna talk about the case. Nelson says he's also getting nonstop hate mail.
Be it via email or phone, Nelson tells us he's getting a mix of unsolicited advice from would-be experts ... plus, a ton of hateful voicemails too.
Speaking of those ... TMZ has obtained samples of the messages being left on Nelson's phone, and they're ominous to say the least. People have called him a "piece of s***" and levied veiled threats against his practice ... suggesting he's running a crooked business.
Nelson says he reported that latter message to cops, because he found it a bit too dubious and threatening -- but nothing ever came of it. Adding insult to injury -- Nelson tells us his ratings online have taken a gut punch because of the false assumption he's THAT Eric Nelson.
He says his Google stars went from 5 to 1 in a heartbeat -- but, fortunately, Google saw it was a big misunderstanding and fixed the issue themselves.
As for what Nelson's doing to deal ... he's been sending out automated replies to make it clear he's NOT the Eric Nelson everyone's coming for. His website even blares that warning. Oh, and Nelson's also considering tweaking his biz name to feature his middle name, Carlyle.
Funny enough, not to him, we're sure ... the real Eric Nelson is also getting attacked left and right -- he said as much after Monday's closing arguments while describing the press coverage to Judge Cahill.