Rittenhouse lawyers ask judge to declare videotaped trial overturned
Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request to quash the trial.
THIS IS A CURRENT UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial will be allowed to review part of the Kenosha shooting video, after their request on the second day of deliberations sparked a debate between the judge and the opposing lawyers on how to accommodate the request.
The judge, meanwhile, expressed his irritation at the media coverage and comments from legal experts on some of his decisions, saying he would “think long and hard” about allowing televised trials in the future.
Jurors weighed the charges against Rittenhouse for a second day after they failed to reach a quick verdict on Tuesday on whether he was the instigator of a bloodshed night in Kenosha or a citizen concerned who was attacked while trying to protect his property.
About two hours after deliberations began on Wednesday, jurors requested to view the video released earlier in the trial and Judge Bruce Schroeder said he would determine procedures allowing for this.
After receiving the jury’s request, the judge and lawyers were faced with a multitude of questions and, in some cases, sources of disagreement. Among them: Should jurors watch the video in the courtroom or in the jury room? Who else can be present if it is in the courtroom? And how many times should they be allowed to rewind and watch a footage?
Prosecutor Thomas Binger said they should be able to watch any video they wanted as many times as they wanted, and the judge seemed to agree.
“Sometimes there is a piece of evidence that is absolutely essential. … For me, if they want to watch it 100 times, it’s them, ”said Schroeder.
But defense attorneys said they would object to the jury viewing a video taken by a drone which prosecutors said showed Rittenhouse pointing his gun at protesters before the shooting. The image sparked much controversy earlier in the lawsuit over technical issues as to whether enlarging the images significantly alters them.
Both parties agreed to upload the videos the jurors wanted to see on a computer so that they could view them in the jury room. The judge – who said he was “nauseous” to allow the drone video – said jurors had not asked to see the video again, but were ready to watch it.
Earlier Wednesday, Schroeder objected to reports about his decisions not to allow the men shot by Rittenhouse to be called victims and to allow Rittenhouse to play a minor role in determining alternate jurors, and the fact that he had yet to rule on a defense motion to quash the trial.
Schroeder said he had not read the motion because he had just received it on Tuesday.
“It’s just a shame that irresponsible statements are being made,” Schroeder said of comments in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by law school professors that he did not speak out on the motion to quash the trial.
The case went to an anonymous jury after Schroeder allowed Rittenhouse to hit a raffle drum and draw numbered slips that determined which of the 18 jurors sitting in the case would deliberate and which would be removed as alternates .
This task is usually performed by a registrar, and not by the defendant. Schroeder said he has been asking the defendants to do so for at least 20 years.
“I admit that there aren’t a lot of courts that do that, maybe not none,” Schroeder said Wednesday.
The 12-person jury deliberated for an entire day on Tuesday without commenting.
Rittenhouse, 18, faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of using an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and injure a third on a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. The former police cadet is white, just like those he shot dead.
Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defense, while prosecutors contended he provoked the violence. The case has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate over guns, racial justice protests, self-defense, and law and order.
The jury appeared to be predominantly white. Prospective jurors were not asked to identify their race during the selection process, and the court did not provide a racial breakdown.
Although protests were generally muffled around the courthouse during the trial, on Wednesday a man arrived with a long gun and wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest. After being approached by the police, he left and returned shortly after without a weapon. The man had spent Tuesday shouting anti-Black Lives Matter statements through a megaphone and was involved in a confrontation that day with another protester.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who has come under fire for his response to the Kenosha protests in 2020, called for calm while the jury deliberated. He announced last week that 500 members of the National Guard would stand ready to work in Kenosha if needed.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he traveled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Ill., In what he said was an effort to protect property from rioters in the days following the shooting. ‘a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white policeman from Kenosha.
In a series of rapid street clashes, Rittenhouse shot dead Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.
In closing arguments on Monday, prosecutor Thomas Binger said Rittenhouse was an “aspiring soldier” who sparked the deadly chain of events by bringing a gun to a protest and pointing it at protesters just before being for follow-up.
But Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, countered that Rittenhouse had been ambushed by a “mad person” – Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum chased him down and grabbed his rifle, causing him to fear the weapon would be used against him. His account of Rosenbaum’s behavior was largely corroborated by the video and some of the prosecution’s own witnesses.
As for Huber, he was gunned down after he was seen on video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. And Grosskreutz admitted he had his own pistol pointed at Rittenhouse when he was shot.
In his instructions to the jury, Schroeder said that in order to accept Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense, jurors must find that he believed there was an unlawful threat against him and that the amount of force he used was reasonable and necessary.
Forliti reported from Minneapolis; Bauer from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Tammy Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan.
Find the full AP coverage of Rittenhouse’s essay: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse
Michael Tarm, Scott Bauer and Amy Forliti, Associated Press