Former Chauvin juror discusses Rittenhouse trial


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial will need a fourth day to deliberate.

Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial on homicide and attempted homicide charges for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a tumultuous night of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer. Rittenhouse, a then-17-year-old former police youth cadet, said he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioters.

Brandon Mitchell, one of the 12 jurors who found former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd, said the experience can be daunting.

“It is very difficult actually because of the instructions that are given to you — it’s all legal jargon,” Mitchell said. “Understanding it can be a task in itself, and then all the evidence that is there. All of it is a task and all of it is a lot to take in.”

Mitchell said he didn’t find it hard to remain neutral during the Chauvin trial.

“I think the understanding of staying neutral is probably the easiest part because you just sat there through an entire trawling for both sides,” he said. “And so there’s something that you’ve been engulfed in. So you’re taking this seriously.” 

While all eyes were on the Chuvain trial and eventual verdict — similar to the outcome soon to come in Kenosha — Mitchell said the magnitude of the case didn’t immediately hit him.

“You are engulfed in the trial. The trial is kind of taking up your life. Each day you’re coming into the courtroom, and that’s your focus when you’re going into deliberation, that’s your focus. You don’t really realize the magnitude until after all that is over with,” Mitchell said.

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Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years. He has pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights charges he also faces. He filed documents in September saying he intends to appeal his conviction and sentence on 14 grounds, including that he believes his trial should have been moved from Hennepin County and that the jury should have been sequestered.

He asked for a public defender to represent him on appeal, but the state Supreme Court denied that request this month, saying a review of his assets and debts showed he was ineligible. When Chauvin made the request, he said he had no income aside from nominal prison wages and added that the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association’s legal defense fund, which paid for his initial attorney, told him its obligation to fund his legal representation ended when he was convicted and sentenced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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