Rittenhouse trial: Defence lawyers set to make mistrial claim

Kyle Rittenhouse

Kyle Rittenhouse

Defence lawyers in the Wisconsin murder trial of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse said they would ask for a mistrial because of a dispute with prosecutors over video evidence.

The lawyers made their plan known as jurors ended their second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

This was after reviewing a series of videos of the teenager’s deadly encounters at racial justice protests last year.

Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and attempted homicide in the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, during a chaotic night of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Aug. 25, 2020.

The jury of 7 women and 5 men have deliberated for roughly 14 hours over two days. Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder told them to return to court and resume discussing the case at 9 a.m. Central Time (1300 GMT) on Thursday.

The jury spent about 45 minutes on Wednesday watching drone video of the Rosenbaum shooting and other videos of the subsequent shootings of Huber and Grosskreutz.

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The shootings took place in Kenosha during protests – marred by arson, rioting and looting – that followed the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down. read more

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, has pleaded not guilty and took the stand last week to argue that he only fired his weapon after the men attacked him. He said Rosenbaum, the first person he shot that night, grabbed the barrel of his rifle.

Livestreamed, the Rittenhouse trial has emerged as the most closely watched case involving a civilian’s right to self-defense since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in 2013.

Like Zimmerman, Rittenhouse has become a polarizing figure, viewed as heroic by some conservatives who favour expansive gun rights and as a symbol of a reckless American gun culture by many on the left.

Kenosha has been on edge during the trial, and a small crowd of demonstrators assembled on the courthouse steps again on Wednesday, some holding signs in support of Rittenhouse and others calling for his conviction.