Rittenhouse lawyers ask judge to declare video trial overturned | national news

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – Lawyers for Kyle Rittenhouse have asked the judge to declare the trial quashed even as the jury in the murder case deliberated on Wednesday, saying the defense received a substandard copy of a potentially crucial video from prosecutors.

Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule on the claim, the second motion to quash the defense trial in a week. The jury deliberated a second full day without reach a verdict and will come back in the morning.

The problem was a piece of drone video that prosecutors showed the jury in closing arguments in an attempt to undermine Rittenhouse’s opinion. self-defense claim and portray him as the instigator of the bloodshed in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. Prosecutors said the footage showed him pointing his gun at protesters before the shooting erupted.

Rittenhouse’s attorney, Corey Chirafisi, said the defense initially received a smaller compressed version of the video and did not get the larger and better version used by the prosecution until the proof part of the case is over.

He said the defense would have approached things differently if they had received the best pictures earlier and are now calling for “a level playing field”.

He said the request to quash the trial would be made “without prejudice,” meaning prosecutors could always try Rittenhouse again.

Last week, the defense requested a annulment of trial with prejudice, which meant that Rittenhouse could no longer be tried. The request was prompted by what the defense said were inappropriate questions posed by prosecutor Thomas Binger during his cross-examination of Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial for manslaughter and attempted homicide for killing two men and injuring a third with an AR-type semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests against the police shootout on Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white policeman. Rittenhouse, a then 17-year-old former police cadet, said he traveled to Kenosha to protect his property from rioters.

He shot dead Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28. Rittenhouse is white, as are those who were shot. The case became a flashpoint in the gun debate, racial injustice, vigilantism and self-defense in the United States

He could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty of the most serious charge against him.

The dispute over the video erupted after jurors demanded to review the footage on the second day of their deliberations.

Defense lawyers have said they will object to the jury viewing the drone video. The same footage sparked considerable controversy earlier in the lawsuit over technical issues as to whether a still image taken from the video was distorted when enlarged.

The prosecution contends that the video proves Rittenhouse lied at the stand when he said he did not point his gun at the protesters. But the key moment in the video is difficult to decipher due to the distance of the drone and the small size of a Rittenhouse silhouette in the frame.

A smaller file size or lower resolution video file is more blurry and grainy, especially if played on a larger screen, said Dennis Keeling, assistant professor in the film and television arts department. at Columbia College Chicago. This is why people working with video footage make sure to check the size, length and other details of the file after making a copy to make sure the new version is what they wanted. -he adds.

Prosecutors told the judge on Wednesday 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 are focusing too much on a technological problem,” said prosecutor James Kraus.

The judge said he had “qualms” about admitting the video during the trial, but because it had already been shown in court, he would allow the jury to review it during deliberations.

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

He said the request to quash the trial will have to be dealt with if there is a guilty verdict.

If Rittenhouse is acquitted, the question will be moot. But if found guilty, a decision to quash the trial would essentially overturn the verdict.

Julius Kim, a Milwaukee-based defense attorney who has followed the case, said a trial set aside could be declared even if the judge considers it an honest mistake or a problem technical.

But to win a quashed trial, the defense will have to stick to the high bar and explain to the judge why what happened really hurt Rittenhouse, said Ion Meyn, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Law.

“You can’t just say, ‘The state gave me substandard video and so I have a case called off,’ Meyn said. “It’s a losing argument for sure. “

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

He objected to reporting on his decisions not to allow the men shot by Rittenhouse to be called “victims” and to leave Rittenhouse draw lots who determined which jurors were alternates. The judge also complained about criticism that he had yet to rule on the previous request to quash the trial.

Schroeder said he hadn’t had a chance to read the motion because he had just received it and wanted to give the state a chance to vote.

“It’s just too bad that irresponsible statements are being made,” the judge said of comments from law school professors in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.


Forliti reported from Minneapolis; Bauer of Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press editor Tammy Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan; Kathleen Foody from Chicago.


Find the full AP coverage of Rittenhouse’s trial: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

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