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Crime Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Jury still deliberating verdict as judge considers mistrial over drone video

17:15  18 november  2021
17:15  18 november  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

EXPLAINER: Does Kyle Rittenhouse need to testify?

  EXPLAINER: Does Kyle Rittenhouse need to testify? MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Defense attorneys typically encourage their clients to testify in self-defense cases. But Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial is anything but typical and it's still unclear whether the Illinois man will take the stand to explain to jurors what he was thinking when he shot three people during a protest in Wisconsin last year. Rittenhouse's attorney, Mark Richards, told the jury during opening statements last week that they would hear from Rittenhouse himself about how protesters were carrying rocks.

KENOSHA, Wis. — Jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial were deliberating on a verdict for a third day Thursday while the judge considers a request from the defense for a mistrial.

A key piece of evidence in the prosecution's case — a drone video that shows Rittenhouse fatally shooting the first man he fired at on the night of Aug. 25, 2020 — was called into question Wednesday when Rittenhouse's defense lawyers said they 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 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the most serious charge.

Judge Tells Rittenhouse He's 'Raising' Conviction Risk as Jury Also Weighs Lesser Charges

  Judge Tells Rittenhouse He's 'Raising' Conviction Risk as Jury Also Weighs Lesser Charges The jury in the trial is now able to consider lesser charges that Judge Bruce Schroeder will decide on by Saturday.Rittenhouse is charged with several counts, including homicide and attempted homicide, after the then-17-year-old fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.

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The mistrial request was the latest turn in a dramatic trial that has lasted over a week and features dozens of witnesses and videos. Rittenhouse and his lawyers say he was defending 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 downtown, creating an active shooter situation.

Judge Bruce Schroeder is seated in front of a large video monitor as Kyle RIttenhouse and attorneys for both sides argue Nov. 12 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. © Pool, Getty Images Judge Bruce Schroeder is seated in front of a large video monitor as Kyle RIttenhouse and attorneys for both sides argue Nov. 12 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Updates from Wednesday: Defense asks for mistrial over video

Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has drawn both sharp criticism and high praise over how he has handled the case, has yet to rule on the mistrial motion. He also has not ruled on a separate defense motion for a mistrial with prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could not be retried.

The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Story Explained

  The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Story Explained The case surrounding the 18-year-old has sparked frequent debate since the shootings took place in Kenosha in August 2020.After two weeks of testimony, the defense and prosecution will outline their arguments surrounding the 18-year-old for the final time to the jury at Kenosha County Circuit court.

Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz during the tense night of protests. The unrest 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 instruction to consider lesser included charges on certain counts.

Lawyers spar over drone video

After jurors sent a question to Schroder on Wednesday about how to view the video evidence, the lawyers got into a contentious debate over the key drone video.

Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi called for a mistrial in the afternoon, saying the issue had to do with basic fairness and that they didn't realize the clip was a lower quality until Friday when both sides were debating jury instructions.

Rittenhouse case raises question: What makes a fair trial?

  Rittenhouse case raises question: What makes a fair trial? MADISON, Wis. (AP) — At one point, the 18-year-old murder defendant stood behind the seated, black-robed judge and peered over him to review evidence. At another, on Veterans Day, the judge led the jury and others in the courtroom in applause for veterans just as a defense witness who had served in the Army was about to testify. And as the case neared its conclusion, the judge permitted the defendant to draw numbers from a raffle drum to determine which jurors would serve as alternates — creating the appearance, however small, that the defendant was helping to administer his own trial.

The video in question is central to the state's claim that Rittenhouse provoked the attack, which would cast doubt over whether he could claim self defense. Prosecutors say the video shows Rittenhouse raise his rifle at a couple who had been with Rosenbaum much of the night. That action, they say, provoked Rosenbaum to chase Rittenhouse, who shot the unarmed Rosenbaum four times after they had run across a car lot.

The defense said that's not what the video showed, adding that Rosenbaum had been acting aggressively and irrationally all night, threatening to kill Rittenhouse if he caught him alone.

The video didn't come into play in the trial until Nov. 5, when a former employee from the the owner of the company that operated the drone dropped it off with a detective, Assistant District Attorney James Kraus said Wednesday. At some point in the process of sharing the video with defense attorneys, the file was condensed, thereby lowering its quality.

However, Kraus cast doubt on the defense's claim that they didn't have a higher-quality version, saying Ritenhouse's former attorney, John Pierce, had shared the drone video last year on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and the footage appeared to be of high resolution.

Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty of All Charges in Fatal Shooting of 2 Men At Black Lives Matter Protest

  Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty of All Charges in Fatal Shooting of 2 Men At Black Lives Matter Protest Kyle Rittenhouse, then 17, was accused of homicide for using an AR-style rifle to kill two people during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, Wisc., last yearJurors embraced the claim that Kyle Rittenhouse was defending himself when he fatally shot two men and injured a third last year, clearing him of homicide Friday along with all related charges that included recklessly brandishing a dangerous weapon during a Black Lives Matter protest over police brutality in Kenosha, Wisc.

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 a large, high-resolution TV in the courtroom, with everyone else locked out.

However, Schroeder said he has been “very queasy” about the drone video, and expressed his concerns about whether it was technologically sound earlier in the trial.

'Hot spots of division': Rittenhouse case, Arbery death trial reflect deepening political and racial divides

Judge has yet to rule on mistrial

Schroeder on Wednesday allowed the jury to continue to view the evidence but said the mistrial requests will have to be addressed if there is a guilty verdict. If Rittenhouse is convicted, the judge could still grant the motion to dismiss with prejudice. Rittenhouse could also appeal over the same issues.

The new mistrial request seemed to indicate a growing defense concern about a possible guilty verdict, something Rittenhouse's supporters have long discounted as they predicted rapid acquittals.

Defense attorneys had orally requested the mistrial last week. The defense alleged prosecutors improperly commented on Rittenhouse's right to remain silent and later tried to bring up evidence the judge earlier ruled was not admissible.

The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, explained: 'If you believe him when he says self-defense, then you have to acquit him'

  The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, explained: 'If you believe him when he says self-defense, then you have to acquit him' Why did jurors acquit Kyle Rittenhouse? "If you've got them convinced of self-defense, that's it," one legal expert told USA TODAY.When they do, they'll likely be asked: Where did they find reasonable doubt?

In a written version of the request Monday, the defense added concerns about the drone video. Schroeder on Wednesday clarified that he hadn’t yet read the written motion and wanted to give prosecutors time to respond. They had not by Wednesday.

More Schroeder: Letters of support, criticism pour into Kenosha courthouse for Rittenhouse trial judge

How much prison time could Rittenhouse face?

While Rittenhouse's most serious charge, first-degree intentional homicide in Huber's death, includes a mandatory life sentence, he could face lengthy prison time for the other charges, too.

Jurors may consider lesser charges in Huber's death that 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 additional years for the "use of a dangerous weapon" modifier.

More on lesser included charges: Rittenhouse jury will consider some lesser charges in fatal shootings. Here's what that means.

The attempted first-degree intentional homicide of Grosskreutz could also carry a 60-year sentence plus five years for the same weapon modifier, and the jury can consider lesser charges in that count, too.

Each count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, connected to the unidentified man and the Daily Caller reporter, carries up to 12½ years in prison, plus a five-year weapon modifier.

Contributing: Christal Hayes, USA TODAY; Elliot Hughes and Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Jury still deliberating verdict as judge considers mistrial over drone video

Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal sparks protests across US .
Demonstrations sprang up nationwide in protest of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict Friday night. The verdict sparked outrage among those who feared an acquittal would embolden vigilantism, and anger in the families of the men shot who were seeking accountability and justice. Others, including pro-gun conservatives, have hailed Rittenhouse as a hero who was protecting private property from rioters.

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