KENOSHA, Wisconsin – Jurors in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial discussed a verdict for a third day Thursday while the judge is considering the defense’s request for a nullity trial.
Key evidence in the case of the prosecution – a drone video that shows Rittenhouse fatally shootingthe first man he shot on the night of August 25, 2020 – was questioned on Wednesday when Rittenhouse’s defense lawyers said they had received a lower-quality version of the clip.
Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide stemming from shootings that occurred during a violent night of protest over police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He faces mandatory life imprisonment if convicted on the most serious charge.
The misdemeanor lawsuit was the latest turn in a dramatic lawsuit that lasted more than a week and features dozens of witnesses and videos. Rittenhouse and his lawyers say he defended himself, while the state says the then 17-year-old was looking for a fight he provoked when he brought his AR-15-style rifle into town, creating an active shooting situation.
Wednesday updates:Defense is asking for a lawsuit because of video
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has attracted both sharp criticism and praise for how he handled the case, has yet to judge the motion. He also failed to adjudicate on a separate defense motion for misconduct with prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could not be retried.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz during the tense night of protests. The agitation came after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a black man who was left paralyzed from the waist down. The officer was cleared of any federal or state charges.
Rittenhouse is also charged with two reckless endangerment counts, and the jury was instructed to consider less included charges on certain points.
Lawyers are fighting over a drone video
After jurors sent a question to Schroder on Wednesday about how to view the video, the lawyers entered into a contentious debate over the key drone video.
Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi demanded an indictment in the afternoon, saying the matter is related to basic justice and that they did not realize the clip is of lower quality until Friday when both sides discuss jury instructions.
The video in question is central to the state’s claim that Rittenhouse provoked the attack, which cast doubt on whether he could demand self-defense. Prosecutors say the video shows Rittenhouse raising his rifle at a couple who were with Rosenbaum much of the night. That action, they say, provoked Rosenbaum to chase Rittenhouse, who shot the unarmed Rosenbaum four times after they ran across a car lot.
The defense said that’s not what the video showed, adding that Rosenbaum acted aggressively and irrationally all night, threatening to kill Rittenhouse if he caught him alone.
The video did not enter the lawsuit until November 5, when a former employee of the owner of the company that operated the drone.took it off with a detective, assistant district attorney James Kraus said Wednesday. At some point in the video sharing processwith defense attorneys, the file was condensed, thus lowering its quality.
However, Kraus doubted the defense’s claim that they don’t have a higher-quality version, saying former Rittenhouse lawyer John Pierce shared the drowning video last year on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and the footage appeared. be of high resolution.
Jurors were shown the clip during the trial and given a laptop that included it and other videos to review during deliberations. Schroeder also allowed them to watch on large, high-resolution television in the courtroom, with everyone else locked up.
However, Schroeder said he was “very concerned” about the drone video, and expressed his concerns about whether it was technologically sound earlier in the lawsuit.
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A judge has yet to judge a non-trial
Schroeder on Wednesday allowed the jury to continue to look at the evidence but said the misdemeanor claims will have to be dealt with if there is a guilty verdict. If Rittenhouse is convicted, the judge could still give the motion to dismiss with prejudice. Rittenhouse could also appeal over the same issues.
The new unsolicited request seemed to indicate a growing defensive concern about a possible guilty verdict, something Rittenhouse’s supporters have long discounted because they predicted speedy acquittals.
Defense attorneys orally requested the nullification process last week. The defense alleged prosecutors improperly commented on Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent and later attempted to bring evidence that the judge had previously ruled was unacceptable.
In a written version of the request on Monday, the defense added concerns about the drone video. Schroeder on Wednesday explained that he had not yet read the written motion and wanted to give prosecutors time to respond. They didn’t have it until Wednesday.
Schroeder in spot:Letters of support, criticism pours in Kenosha court for Rittenhouse trial judge
How much prison time could Rittenhouse face?
While Rittenhouse’s major indictment, a first-degree intentional manslaughter in Huber’s death, includes a mandatory life sentence, he could also face a long prison term for the other charges.
Juries may consider smaller charges in Huber’s death, which could carry up to 60 years in prison, and the first-degree reckless homicide charge in Rosenbaum’s death also carries up to 60 years with an additional five years for the “use of a dangerous weapon “modifier.
Small included costs:A Rittenhouse jury will consider a number of smaller charges in fatal shootings. That’s what that means.
Grosskreutz’s attempted first-degree intentional homicide could also carry a 60-year sentence plus five years for the same weapon modifier, and the jury may consider smaller charges in that count, as well.
Each count of first-degree carelessly endangering security, linked to the unidentified man and the Daily Caller reporter, carries up to 12½ years in prison, plus a five-year weapons modifier. Rittenhouse shot the unidentified man twice before he shot Huber and Grosskreutz. The Daily Caller reporter was at the scene of Rosenbaum’s shooting and said a bullet passed past him.
Contributing: Christal Hayes, USA TODAY; Elliot Hughes and Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel