Rittenhouse’s defence team in new request for mistrial over drone footage

The jury at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial deliberated for a third full day without reaching a verdict yesterday, while the judge banned MSNBC from the courthouse after a freelancer for the network was accused of following the jurors in their bus.

he jury members will return this morning to resume their work. Unlike previous days, they had no questions or requests to review any evidence yesterday in the politically and racially fraught case.

Mr Rittenhouse (18) is on trial for killing two men and wounding a third with a rifle during a turbulent night of protests that erupted in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 after a Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white police officer.

Even as the jury weighed the evidence, two mistrial requests from the defence hung over the case, with the potential to upend the verdict if the panel were to convict Mr Rittenhouse. One of those requests asks the judge to go even further and bar prosecutors from retrying him.

Judge Bruce Schroeder yesterday banned MSNBC after police said they detained a man who had followed the jury bus and may have tried to photograph jurors.

NBC News said in a statement that the man was a freelancer who received a citation for a traffic violation that took place near the jury vehicle, and he “never photographed or intended to photograph them”.

Before the jurors retired around 4pm, at what the judge said was their own request, one of them asked if she could take the jury instructions home, and the judge said yes but told her she could not talk to anyone about them. Before deliberations, Judge Schroeder read the jury 36 pages of instructions on the charges and the laws of self-defence.

After the jury departed, Mr Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards told the judge he feared that letting members take home instructions would lead to jurors looking things up in the dictionary or doing their own research.

Tom Grieve, a Milwaukee attorney and former prosecutor not involved in the case, called the move “definitely unusual in my experience”. “The natural issue is that it will precipitate armchair research and table discussion,” he said.

Mr Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old former police youth cadet when he went to Kenosha in what he said was an effort to protect property after rioters set fires and ransacked businesses on previous nights.

He shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum (36) and Anthony Huber (26) and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28. Mr Rittenhouse is white, as were those he shot.

He said he acted in self-defence after coming under attack, while prosecutors argued he instigated the bloodshed.

The case has exposed deep divides among Americans over guns, racial injustice, vigilantism and self-defence in the US.

To some civil rights activists, the shootings were an attack on the movement for racial justice, and some have complained of a racial double standard in the way Mr Rittenhouse was treated by law enforcement that night.

The defence has twice asked the judge to declare a mistrial, alleging that they were given an inferior copy of a potentially crucial video and that the prosecution asked improper questions of Rittenhouse during cross-examination.

Mr Rittenhouse could get life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.

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