No verdict yet in Rittenhouse trial, lawyers ask for mistrial

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KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation Now) — The jury has been sent home without reaching a verdict for the second straight day in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Earlier on Wednesday, Rittenhouse’s attorneys asked the judge to declare a mistrial because their team received a lower-quality version of drone footage compared to the prosecution.

Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi told Judge Bruce Schroeder the request would be made without prejudice, meaning the state could try Rittenhouse again if the case is thrown out.

Prosecutors countered Wednesday that the jury saw the highest-quality version during the trial and that it was played without objection.

Prosecutor James Kraus said it was not the fault of prosecutors that the file got compressed when received by the defense: “We’re focusing too heavily on a technological glitch.”

The prosecution contends the video proves Rittenhouse lied on the stand when he said he didn’t point his rifle at protesters.

The judge said he had “qualms” about admitting the video during the trial, but because it had already been shown in court, he would allow the jury to rewatch it during deliberations.

But if it turns out the video should not have been admitted into evidence, “it’s going to be ugly,” Schroeder warned.

He said the mistrial request will have to be addressed if there is a guilty verdict.

Earlier Wednesday, Schroeder took exception to news stories about his decisions to not allow the men Rittenhouse shot to be called victims and to allow Rittenhouse to play a minor role in determining which jurors were alternates, and the fact that he had not yet ruled on a previous defense motion for a mistrial.

Schroeder said he hasn’t read the motion because he just received it on Tuesday.

“It’s just a shame that irresponsible statements are being made,” Schroeder said of comments in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story from law school professors about him not ruling on the mistrial motion.

The case went to the anonymous jury after Schroeder allowed Rittenhouse himself to play a minor role in selecting the final panel of 12 who would decide his fate. Rittenhouse reached into a raffle drum and drew numbered slips that determined which of the 18 jurors who sat through the case would deliberate and which ones would be dismissed as alternates.

That task is usually performed by a court clerk, not the defendant. Schroeder said he has been having defendants do it for, “I’m going to say 20 years, at least.”

Rittenhouse, 18, faces life in prison if convicted as charged for using an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and wound a third during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.

Rittenhouse testified he acted in self-defense, while prosecutors argued he provoked the violence. The case has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate over guns, racial-justice protests, vigilantism and law and order.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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