UPDATED 7:15 AM PT – Thursday, November 18, 2021
The jury deciding the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse enters day three of deliberations. On Thursday, the 12 panel jury will return to the Kenosha courtroom to review all the videos played during the trial. The defense has called for a mistrial for the second time over the video size and quality used by the prosecution while arguing prejudice.
Judge Bruce Schroeder welcomed the jury back into the courtroom Wednesday after they asked the judge about rewatching key footage relevant to the case. The judge allowed them to view the drone footage again despite Rittenhouse’s attorney challenging the decision. The judge also slammed the media for “grossly irresponsible handling” of the trial.
Prosecutors previously delivered a message to the jury, claiming Rittenhouse provoked the shooting last year. Defense attorneys countered by detailing how Rittenhouse was attacked and acted in self-defense during violent Black Lives Matter riots.
“Kyle shot Joseph Rosenbaum to stop a threat to his person and I’m glad he shot him because if Joseph Rosenbaum had got that gun, I don’t for a minute believe he wouldn’t have used it against somebody else,” stated Defense attorney Mark Richards. “He was irrational and crazy.”
Rittenhouse has maintained that he did nothing wrong and acted in self-defense. During his earlier testimony, the 18-year-old outlined the events of August 24 and 25. He explained what he was doing in Kenosha, Wisconsin on those days and the events leading up to him using a weapon.
Rittenhouse first took questions from his own counsel. He recalled hearing a gunshot fired behind him, being chased by what he described as a mob, but then broke down when attempting to explain the events leading to him firing his first shot.
The prosecution was given a chance to ask Rittenhouse their questions, but on several occasions stepped out of line. This forced the judge to send the jury out of the room.
Judge Bruce Schroeder was shocked at the state’s attempts to reintroduce evidence originally rejected by the court and that prosecutor Thomas Binger questioned Rittenhouse’s decision to remain silent after the shooting.
“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post arrest silence,” stated the Judge. “That’s basic law, it’s been the basic law in this country for forty years, fifty years. I have no idea why you would do something like that. Well, I’ll leave it at that. So I don’t know what you’re up to.”
Defense attorneys outlined their case for self-defense during opening arguments in the trial with both sides delivering remarks to the 11 women and nine men who will decide the teen’s fate.
Rittenhouse has been accused of killing two people and wounding a third during the August 2020 riots. Experts say under Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse has a strong self-defense case and prosecutors will have to convince the jury he forfeited that claim after showing up with a weapon.
Prosecutors argue Rittenhouse was the aggressor during last year’s incident and had no justification for the shooting. However, defense lawyers say Rittenhouse was attacked by a mob and did what he could to survive.
During jury selection, the judge warned jurors of “irresponsible and deliberately biased” media coverage surrounding the case. The judge noted their decision can not be influenced by politics.
Jurors wrapped up day two of deliberations in the Rittenhouse trial as defense attorneys sparred with prosecutors over the video evidence. The court reconvened several times on Wednesday with the judge answering several questions from the jury, including whether they could view video evidence in private or in the courtroom. Following their request, a dispute over drone footage erupted.
During the trial, prosecutors had used blurry drone footage to allegedly show Rittenhouse pointing his gun at people, but the defense argued a clear version of the footage shows otherwise. Defense attorneys accused the prosecution of withholding better quality video evidence, which the state blamed on a technical glitch.
“It’s not debatable that it’s not fair what happened, we can sit here all day and say it’s been played,” stated Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi. “We didn’t know there was another version. How is that reasonable?”
The defense called for a mistrial and the judge ultimately decided to allow the jury to rewatch all videos. Jurors will continue to weigh five charges against Rittenhouse in connection with shooting three people, two fatally, last year.
Ahead of the verdict, authorities in Kenosha are prepared for possible unrest with around 500 National Guardsmen deployed just outside the city. Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced the troops would support local law enforcement if needed. Evers urged those choosing to assemble to do so safely and peacefully.
Protesters have been gathering outside the courthouse both in opposition and support for Rittenhouse who faces life in prison if convicted of the more serious charges against him. It’s possible the jury will deliver the verdict by the end of the day on Thursday and the city is preparing for any potential unrest that comes up as a result.