The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse may be a lock for a mistrial at this point, after the defense team filed an updated motion for mistrial with prejudice, which included claims of the prosecution withholding video evidence from defense.
As outlined by National Review, “defense accuses the prosecution of introducing drone footage of the incident in question that was lower quality than the footage that was already admitted into evidence and presented to the jury. The prosecution claims the new video, brought in after the trial was already underway, shows that Rittenhouse instigated the altercations in which he fatally shot two men and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisc. last summer amid the Black Lives Matter riots.”
“The video footage has been at the center of this case,” reads the motion from defense. “The failure to provide the same quality footage in this particular case is intentional and clearly prejudices the defendant.”
Top self-defense lawyer and legal expert Andrew Branca said on Wednesday that the apparent video withholding “absolutely calls for a mistrial with prejudice,” especially when compounded with other offenses by prosecution.
“In my professional opinion this news that the defense was only provided with a low-resolution version of the drone video absolutely calls for a mistrial with prejudice, especially when compounded by the other already existing grounds for such a dismissal,” Branca said.
The legal expert noted of Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger attempting to use banned evidence and risking a violation of Rittenhouse’s Fifth Amendment privileges.
“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence, and that is, you’re right on the borderline. And you may be over, but it better stop,” Judge Bruce Schroeder scolded Binger, last week. “I can’t think of an initial case on it, but this is not permitted.”
Branca highlighted the importance of the drone video evidence in question for the prosecution, underscoring his argument for grounds of a mistrial with prejudice.
“The prosecution’s entire theory of the case, their narrative of guilt, is that Kyle Rittenhouse provoked Joseph Rosenbaum’s attack on him. The only evidence the prosecution has ever offered in support of this claim of provocation is this drone video.”
“Given that the State only provided the defense with a low-resolution version means the defense was unable to either adequately prepare Rittenhouse for his own testimony, or their own counter-argument against the value of the drone video as evidence of provocation,” Branca explained.
Branca on Wednesday morning, appearing on a legal YouTube channel called Rekieta Law, emphasized that the “burden” of providing defense the accurate video evidence is on the state, not the defense. The commentary came after some suggested the poor video quality could have been sent to defense by mistake.
Making it even more likely that the case will result in a mistrial, the judge overseeing the case, Judge Bruce Schroeder, slammed the general coverage of the trial as “frightening.”
“Some of the other misinformation about the case … is widespread, and you gentlemen are aware of it as I am,” the judge slammed, speaking to defense and prosecution.
“I’m somewhat astounded, as it gets out into the general public, and I spoke about it on the first day of trial, the result of the trial should be open to public scrutiny and people should have confidence in the outcome of the trial … It’s just a shame that irresponsible statements are being made,” Schroeder said.
“I think it’s shameful, some of the things that are being done to [these five attorneys] and when I talked about problems with the media, when this trial started, we’re there in part … because of grossly irresponsible handling of what comes out of this trial,” the judge added.
“I will tell you this, I’m going to think long and hard about live television in a trial again, next time, I don’t know. I’ve always been a firm believer in it because I think people should see what’s going on but what’s being done is really quite frightening.”
Author: Jermaine Lucas