KENOSHA, Wisconsin (AP) – A jury at the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial on Thursday began deliberation with a new defense request for wrongful trial in this political and racial case.
The trial is slated to continue at 10 a.m. ET. Look in the player above.
The flawed trial was prompted by a jury request on Wednesday to review video evidence, including drone footage, which prosecutors used to undermine Rittenhouse’s self-defense statement and portray him as the instigator of the Kenosha bloodshed in the summer of 2020.
READ MORE: What are the charges against Kyle Rittenhouse for shooting Kenosha?
Prosecutors said the video showed him aiming a rifle at protesters before the shooting began.
But on Wednesday, the defense team said it received a missing copy of a potentially critical video from prosecutors, prompting its second wrong trial motion in a week. Judge Bruce Schroeder agreed to allow the jury to re-watch the video and did not immediately issue a ruling on the fair trial request.
Rittenhouse lawyer Corey Chirafisi said the defense would have approached the case differently if it had received better personnel in the case earlier. Chirafisi said the request for wrongful trial will be filed “without prejudice,” which means prosecutors can still repeat the Rittenhouse trial.
Rittenhouse, 18, was indicted on murder and attempted murder charges for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black, white. police officer. Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old former police cadet, said he went to Kenosha to defend the property from rioters.
He shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28. Rittenhouse is white, like those he shot. This case has become a hot spot in the debate about weapons, racial injustice, vigilance and self-defense in the United States.
Rittenhouse could receive a life sentence if he was found guilty of the most serious charges.
Last week, the defense demanded a flawed prejudice trial, which meant that Rittenhouse could not be brought back to trial. This request was prompted by what the defense called the wrong questions posed by Attorney Thomas Binger during the cross-examination of Rittenhouse.
Regarding the drone video, the prosecution claims it proves that Rittenhouse lied at the booth when he said he did not point his rifle at the protesters. But the key moment in the frame is difficult to decipher due to how far away the drone was and how small Rittenhouse’s figure is in the frame.
According to Dennis Keeling, associate professor of film and television arts at Columbia College in Chicago, a smaller file or a lower resolution video file will be more blurry and grainy, especially when played on a large screen.
On Wednesday, prosecutors told the judge that the jury saw the highest quality version during the trial, and that it was not the state’s fault that the file size decreased when received by the defense.
“We focus too much on technological disruptions,” said Attorney James Kraus.
The judge said the request for a wrongful trial should be considered if a conviction is issued. He warned that if it turns out that the video could not be used as evidence, “it would be ugly.”
If Rittenhouse was acquitted, the dispute would not matter. But if he is found guilty, a faulty trial will essentially overturn the sentence.
Julius Kim, a Milwaukee-based lawyer who oversaw the case, said the trial could be declared invalid even if the judge judged it to be an honest mistake or a technical problem.
But to win the trial, the defense will have to meet the high bar and explain to the judge why the incident actually hurt Rittenhouse, said Ion Main, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Law.
“You can’t just say, ‘The government provided me with a lower quality video, and that’s why I got a wrong trial,” Mayne said. “This is definitely a losing argument.”
Forliti reported from Minneapolis; Bauer from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press author Tammy Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan; Kathleen Foody from Chicago.