The jury in the Wisconsin murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse asked yesterday about viewing video related to the case, indicating it was still weighing evidence on its second day of deliberations on whether to convict or acquit the teenager.
he 12-member jury sent a note to Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder asking whether it can view video in its private room or in the courtroom. It was not immediately clear what video it was seeking to review.
Judge Schroeder said the jury would be required to view the evidence in the courtroom, which he would clear of public attendees and the media. After a full day on Monday, the jury had at that point been deliberating for about 11 hours.
Mark Richards, an attorney for Mr Rittenhouse, said he objected to the jury reviewing drone video that was an important part of the prosecution’s case. The video shows Mr Rittenhouse shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, one of two men he killed during racial justice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020.
The defence has accused prosecutors of withholding a high-definition version of drone footage until Saturday, when the case was already closed to new evidence, and cited the issue in their motion for a mistrial filed to the court on Monday.
“I don’t know what exhibits the jurors wish to see,” Mr Richards said. “We the defence has a real problem with them seeing the drone footage.”
Mr Rittenhouse (18) is charged with homicide in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum (36) and Anthony Huber (26), and attempted homicide in the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz (28) on August 25, 2020. He faces life in prison on the most serious count.
The shootings took place in Kenosha during protests – marred by arson, rioting and looting – that followed the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralysed.
Mr Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, has pleaded not guilty and took the stand last week to argue that he only fired his weapon after the men attacked him. He said Mr Rosenbaum, the first person he shot that night, grabbed the barrel of his rifle.
Streamed online, the Rittenhouse trial has emerged as the most closely watched case involving a civilian’s right to self-defence since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in 2013.
Like Mr Zimmerman, Mr Rittenhouse has become a polarising figure, viewed as heroic by some conservatives who favour expansive gun rights and as a symbol of a reckless American gun culture by many on the left.
Kenosha has been on edge during the trial, and a small crowd of demonstrators assembled on the courthouse steps again yesterday, some holding signs in support of Mr Rittenhouse and others calling for his conviction.
Outside the courthouse, a man carrying an AR-15-style rifle and a bullhorn was told by Kenosha County Sheriff’s deputies he could not be in the area as it was in near a school.
Judge Schroeder, who has been critical of the media for its reporting on the trial, said he would rethink allowing live coverage in his courtroom in the future, decrying what he called “grossly irresponsible” coverage of the case.