Rittenhouse lawyers ask judge to declare mistrial after video obtained by prosecutors

Rittenhouse lawyers ask judge to declare mistrial after video obtained by prosecutors

Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request, making it the defense’s second motion to clear the trial in a week.

KENOSHA – Kyle Rittenhouse’s attorneys asked the judge to declare a mistrial, even as the jury deliberated Wednesday, saying the defense received an inferior copy of a potentially crucial video from prosecutors.

Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request, this being the defense’s second motion to vacate the trial in a week.

What was at stake was a piece of drone video that prosecutors showed the jury in closing arguments in an attempt to undermine Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim and present him as the aggressor. Prosecutors said it showed him pointing his rifle at protesters before the shooting broke out.

Rittenhouse’s attorney, Corey Chirafisi, said the defense initially received a compressed version of a video and did not obtain the highest quality version used by the prosecution until the evidentiary portion of the case was completed.

He added that the defense would have approached things differently if it had received the superior images earlier and that it is now asking for “a level and fair playing field.”

Chirafisi commented that the request to annul the trial would be made “without prejudice,” meaning that prosecutors could still retry Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial for murder and attempted murder on charges of killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests over the police shooting of a black man in the summer. 2020.

Rittenhouse, a then 17-year-old former police cadet, said he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioters.

The young man was charged with shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.

You could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against you.

Rittenhouse is white, just like the ones that were shot. Nonetheless, the case has become a hot spot in the debate over guns, racial injustice, para-police surveillance and self-defense in the United States.

The dispute over the video broke out after jurors asked to re-view footage from the second day of their deliberations.

Defense attorneys said they would object to the jury viewing the video of the drone, prompting a heated dispute early in the trial over technical questions of whether the image was altered when zoomed in.

Prosecutors responded Wednesday that the jury saw the higher-quality version during the trial and that it was played without objection.

Prosecutor James Kraus assured that it was not the fault of the prosecutors that the file was compressed when the defense received it: “We are focusing too much on a technological failure.”

The prosecution maintains that the video shows that Rittenhouse lied on the stand when he said he did not point his rifle at the protesters.

The judge said he had “scruples” in admitting the video during the trial, but as it had already been shown in court, he would allow the jury to see it again during deliberations.

But if it turns out that the video shouldn’t have been admitted as evidence, “it’s going to be ugly,” Schroeder warned.

He said the request to have the trial vacated will need to be addressed if there is a guilty verdict.

Earlier in the day, the judge criticized news coverage of the case and the doubts of legal experts in the media, saying he would “think hard” about allowing televised trials in the future.

He objected to the news about his decisions not to allow the men Rittenhouse shot to be called “victims” and to let Rittenhouse decide which jurors were substitutes. The judge also complained of criticism that he had not yet ruled on the defense’s earlier request to annul the trial.

Schroeder indicated that he had not had the opportunity to read the motion because he had just received it.

“It’s a shame irresponsible statements are being made,” Schroeder said of comments in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story by law school professors.