Rittenhouse attorneys ask choose to declare mistrial over video

Defence attorneys within the Wisconsin homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse mentioned on Wednesday they’d ask for a mistrial due to a dispute with prosecutors over video proof, because the jury watched footage of his shootings at protests final yr.

Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and tried murder within the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, throughout a chaotic night time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. The protests that night time – marred by arson, rioting and looting – adopted the police taking pictures of a Black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Rittenhouse has pleaded not responsible.

At situation within the trial is a drone video that reveals Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse within the parking zone of a used-car dealership and {the teenager} turning and opening fireplace together with his semi-automatic rifle as Rosenbaum will get near him.

The prosecution made the video a central plank of their case to the jury, which is within the second day of deliberations on a verdict. They mentioned it confirmed Rittenhouse pointing his rifle at protesters earlier than the taking pictures erupted.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys accused the prosecution of withholding a high-definition model of the drone footage till Saturday, after the case was already closed to new proof. Prosecutors mentioned the video was doubtless compressed by the defence lawyer’s computer systems after it was despatched to them.

Judge Bruce Schroeder didn’t instantly rule on the request, the second mistrial movement from the defence in per week.

Kyle Rittenhouse walks again into the courtroom after a break throughout his trial on the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, US, November 11, 2021 [Sean Krajacic/Pool via Reuters]

Rittenhouse lawyer Corey Chirafisi mentioned the defence initially acquired a compressed model of a video and didn’t get the higher-quality one utilized by the prosecution till the evidentiary portion of the case was over.

He mentioned that the defence would have approached issues in another way if it had acquired the superior footage earlier and that it’s now asking for “a level, fair playing field”.

He mentioned the mistrial request can be made “without prejudice”, which means prosecutors may nonetheless retry Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse, a then-17-year-old former police youth cadet, mentioned he went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to guard property from rioters.

He may get life in jail if convicted of essentially the most severe cost in opposition to him.

Rittenhouse is white, as have been these shot. The case has turn into a flashpoint within the debate over weapons, racial injustice, vigilantism and self-defence within the US.

The dispute over the video erupted after the jurors requested to rewatch footage on Day 2 of their deliberations.

Defence attorneys mentioned they’d object to the jury viewing the drone video, which prompted heated dispute earlier within the trial over technical questions of whether or not the picture was altered when it was enlarged.

Prosecutors countered Wednesday that the jury noticed the highest-quality model through the trial and that it was performed with out objection.

Prosecutor James Kraus mentioned it was not the fault of prosecutors that the file received compressed when acquired by the defence: “We’re focusing too heavily on a technological glitch.”

Rittenhouse took the stand final week to argue that he solely fired his weapon after the lads attacked him. He mentioned Rosenbaum, the primary individual he shot that night time, grabbed the barrel of his rifle.

The prosecution contends the video proves Rittenhouse lied on the stand when he mentioned he didn’t level his rifle at protesters.

The choose mentioned he had “qualms” about admitting the video through the trial, however as a result of it had already been proven in courtroom, he would enable the jury to rewatch it throughout deliberations.

But if it seems the video mustn’t have been admitted into proof, “it’s going to be ugly,” Schroeder warned.

He mentioned the mistrial request must be addressed if there’s a responsible verdict.

Earlier within the day, the choose had criticized information protection of the case and second-guessing from authorized specialists within the media, saying he would “think long and hard” about permitting televised trials sooner or later.

The trial has drawn demonstrators to the Kenosha County Courthouse, some to assist Rittenhouse, others calling for his conviction [Sean Krajacic/Pool via Reuters]

He took exception to information tales about his choices to not enable the lads Rittenhouse shot to be known as “victims” and to let Rittenhouse draw the heaps that decided which jurors have been alternates. The choose additionally complained about criticism that he had but to rule on the sooner defence request for a mistrial.

Schroeder mentioned he hadn’t had an opportunity to learn the movement as a result of he had simply acquired it.

“It’s just a shame that irresponsible statements are being made,” Schroeder mentioned of feedback in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story from regulation faculty professors.

He despatched the jury home on Wednesday after a second full day of deliberations.

Livestreamed, the Rittenhouse trial has emerged as essentially the most intently watched case involving a civilian’s proper to self-defence since George Zimmerman was acquitted within the deadly taking pictures of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in 2013.

Like Zimmerman, Rittenhouse has turn into a polarizing determine, considered as heroic by some conservatives who favour expansive gun rights and as a logo of a reckless American gun tradition by many on the left.

Kenosha has been on edge through the trial, and a small crowd of demonstrators assembled on the courthouse steps once more on Wednesday, some holding indicators in assist of Rittenhouse and others calling for his conviction.