Defense moves for mistrial in Kyle Rittenhouse case
The judge presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse's homicide trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has indicated that he may entertain a mistrial request after defense attorneys complained that prosecutors violated the 18-year-old defendant's constitutional rights.
Judge Bruce Schroeder of Kenosha County did not immediately rule on the defense attorney's motion for a mistrial with prejudice.
Rittenhouse's defense attorneys allege that prosecutor Thomas Binger violated the teen defendant's rights by referring to his silence following his arrest for Aug. 25, 2020, shootings and a video that Schroeder deemed inadmissible and excluded from evidence during a pretrial hearing.
I'd begin shooting at them." that footage depicted an incident two weeks before the shootings in which shoplifters were spotted fleeing a CVS pharmacy with possibly stolen merchandise. The video features a voice that appears to be Rittenhouse stating, "I wish I had my [expletive] AR."
After dismissing the jury, the judge chastised Binger for speaking about Rittenhouse's silence, describing it as a "grave constitutional violation." "You're on the verge of crossing the line, and you'd better stop," he continued. This is not allowed."
The defense filed a request for a mistrial after Schroeder chastised Binger for attempting to question Rittenhouse about the inadmissible footage during cross-examination.
"You were well aware that attorneys cannot enter these types of areas after the court has ruled without first seeking permission outside the presence of the jury. Therefore, do not give me that," Schroeder stated as the jury exited the chamber for the second time.
When Binger attempted to push the pack, the judge said, "Do not be so bold around me."
"I don't believe you when you say you acted in good faith," he also told Binger.
Rittenhouse attorney Corey Chirafisi indicated that prosecutors were attempting to intentionally produce a mistrial since this one was "going badly" for the prosecution and desired a retrial.
On Wednesday, Rittenhouse took the stand for the first time, claiming he used lethal force to defend himself. At one point, when remembering his interaction with Joseph Rosenbaum, he burst into tears. Rittenhouse stated that he "didn't want to have to shoot" Rosenbaum, but Rosenbaum was pursuing him and had previously threatened to kill him.
"I didn't notice Mr. Rosenbaum until he came out from behind the car and ambushed me," Rittenhouse explained before losing his composure and sobbing, causing the court to order a recess.
When pressed by his counsel as to why he did not continue fleeing Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse stated, "There was no space for me to continue running."
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to seven charges stemming from Aug. 25, 2020, shootings, including homicide in the deaths of Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and attempted homicide in the injury of Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.