Unanswered questions in Rittenhouse trial

Banfield

(NewsNation Now) — Unanswered questions remain after a jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of all charges after he testified he acted in self-defense during deadly shootings in Wisconsin last year.

Rittenhouse was charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in the summer of 2020 during a tumultuous night of protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse, 18, could have gotten life in prison if the verdict had come down another way.

Here is a breakdown of some of the unanswered questions that persist following the Rittenhouse verdict and what we know:

Does Rittenhouse regret going to Kenosha that night? Would he ever do anything like that again?

The Rittenhouse trial ignited a debate over guns, vigilantism and racial justice in the United States. Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old former police youth cadet when he traveled the 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, which had been racked with protests.

Rittenhouse said that he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioters as he joined other armed civilians on the streets as businesses were being ransacked.

During his trial, prosecutors argued that the teenager was a “wannabe soldier” who went looking for trouble that night. Rittenhouse countered that he fired in self-defense after he was attacked and in fear for his life.

Rittenhouse told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview that he wishes the violence in Kenosha never happened.

He has been called a victim, a vigilante and a killer, among other names. What does Rittenhouse think he is?

The case has divided Americans over whether Rittenhouse was a patriot or a vigilante.

After the verdict, the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the demonstrators killed, said the outcome “sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street.”

Rittenhouse said he felt like his life has been defamed and he was using his right to self-defense.

One notable image from the trial is Rittenhouse crying both while testifying and while the verdict was being read. Why did he cry?

Rittenhouse hyperventilated and appeared to be unable to speak while testifying, breaking into audible sobs at one point, telling the jury he was afraid his rifle was going to be taken away and used to kill him.

A homicide trial is obviously a highly emotional and stressful event, but Rittenhouse’s tears were largely mocked on social media and called fake “crocodile tears” by critics. Some likened his display of emotion on the stand to the tears of Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court Justice hearings.

His mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, was also heard sobbing loudly during testimony.

And again as the last of five “not guilty” verdicts were read aloud, Rittenhouse shook with sobs and collapsed, nearly falling out of sight of the television camera fixed on him in a Wisconsin courtroom.

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Many of the things the media covered came from police, attorneys or other officials but they later turned out to be inaccurate. What’s his advice to the media moving forward?

Rittenhouse’s acquittal was a surprise to some who considered his guilt a forgone conclusion. From the outset, many people insisted that this was a case of murders committed by a white supremacist.

Joe Biden, then the Democratic Presidential nominee, included a photo of Rittenhouse in a tweet, labeling him as a “white supremacist.”

Media outlets were accused of bias in their coverage of both Rittenhouse’s arrest and subsequent trial.

“If you relied on the media, you should feel betrayed, ” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote of the Rittenhouse coverage.

But it was ultimately up to the jury to carefully consider the evidence, and they did not find a single count that was supported beyond a reasonable doubt.

What are Rittenhouse’s thoughts on the Arbery trial?

In another high-profile case, three Georgia men are charged with killing an unarmed Black man as he was jogging. Ahmaud Arbery’s killing has become part of a larger reckoning on racial injustice after a graphic video of his death leaked online two months later.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother told NewsNation Monday night the verdict gave her “very much anxiety” because those men, like Rittenhouse, are claiming self-defense to justify their actions.

How does he plan to support the Black Lives Matter movement?

In an interview with Fox News, Rittenhouse said he supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Rittenhouse said that his homicide trial was not related to race.

“This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense,” Rittenhouse said in the Carlson interview

What’s next for Rittenhouse? Does he plan on getting into public life or having a private life and staying out of politics?

As Rittenhouse is making rounds sitting for interviews with the media, many people wonder what is next for him.

“He wants to get on with his life,” defense attorney Mark Richards said of Rittenhouse. “He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him. He wishes none of this ever happened. But as he said when he testified, he did not start this.”

Richards also said that Rittenhouse wants to be a nurse and that he is in counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and will probably move away because, “It’s too dangerous” for him to continue to live in the area.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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