The 12-member jury sitting in judgment of Kyle Rittenhouse concluded its second full day of deliberations Wednesday, Nov. 17, without a verdict. Somehow, the courtroom had just as much drama as a full day of trial. Prosecutors admitted to sending the defense a low-quality copy of drone footage instead of the HD version they possessed. This revelation prompted the defense to file another petition for a mistrial, including one that would allow the state to retry Rittenhouse.
Jurors have so far asked for written copies of jury instructions and access to various videos presented as evidence in the trial. These general queries are made public, but just about nothing else is regarding the jury deliberations. The jury of seven men and five women were charged with announcing a verdict on Monday evening and have been at it during regular business hours ever since.
Previously, the defense asked Kenosha Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder for a mistrial with prejudice to remedy the various misdeeds by the prosecution. Lead prosecutor Thomas Binger trampled on Rittenhouse’s Fifth Amendment rights, for instance, when he derogatorily referred to the defendant keeping silent before trial. Binger was cross-examining Mr. Rittenhouse at the time, and the judge stopped the trial to tell him: “It better not happen again.” Shortly thereafter, Binger referenced evidence the judge said he would exclude. That prompted a full dressing down by Schroeder, who responded to Binger’s protestations of good faith by saying, “I don’t believe you.”
The defense asked for a mistrial “with prejudice,” a ruling that would forbid the state from prosecuting Rittenhouse in the future if granted. It came with no cost to defense because they would suffer no penalty of a retrial if granted. Now the defense has filed an additional mistrial request, this time without the prejudice requirement. The move announces just how much damage to Rittenhouse the defense believes the prosecutorial lies or ineptitude has done.
Waiting For Judgement
That first mistrial petition is still before the judge, who has not yet ruled on the request. On Wednesday afternoon, it was revealed that the prosecution provided the defense with a small, grainy copy of the drone footage of the incident. Meanwhile, the prosecutors possessed a much higher quality version, which they used. The defense team argued the video was the “linchpin” to the government’s case, and it was inconceivable that they wouldn’t provide the defense with the same quality version. The rights of defendants to the disclosure of all the evidence against them is a long-standing right ensconced in Constitutional law since 1963.
Milwaukee defense attorney and former prosecutor Julius Kim told AP of the new motion requested without prejudice: “They are essentially saying, ‘We just kind of want a new trial at this point, no matter what.’” Judge Schroeder met with the trial lawyers to discuss the revelation and stated that he would address the mistrial petitions after the jurors completed their work. If Rittenhouse is acquitted, the motions would be made moot. Jurors are due to report Thursday morning in Kenosha at 9 a.m. local time to resume their deliberations.
~ Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.