Kyle Rittenhouse: Defence calls for mistrial as charged court erupts in shouting

Judge assails prosecutors as teenager takes the stand in double homicide trial

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 10 November 2021 22:17
Judge shouts at prosecutor in Kyle Rittenhouse trial
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Attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse told the judge in his double homicide trial that they are motioning for a mistrial after a judge assailed prosecutors for their line of questioning.

Defence attorneys have argued for a mistrial with prejudice, meaning that if granted, the state could not re-try the case. Judge Bruce Schroeder said he would take the motion under advisement but has not issued a ruling.

Mr Rittenhouse, now 18 years old, took the witness stand in his homicide trial on 10 November, publicly detailing the night he killed two people and injured another man with an AR-15-style rifle during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020.

Earlier on Wednesday, Judge Bruce Schroeder lashed out at prosecutors who have sought to question Mr Rittenhouse over testimony that was previously determined to be inadmissible in court.

He also chastised prosecutor Thomas Binger for his line of questioning into Mr Rittenhouse’s silence in the months after the shootings.

Judge Schroeder dismissed the jury twice on Wednesday during cross examination, and warned prosecutors that they were “bordering” on a “grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence” in defiance of his right to remain silent, he said.

After repeatedly pushing against lines of questioning from the prosecution, Judge Schroeder dismissed the jury and screamed at Mr Binger, who has sought to use video evidence from a pretrial hearing that the judge decided could not be used in court.

Video taken before the shooting on 10 August shows Mr Rittenhouse saying he would shoot shoplifters, a statement that prosecutors have sought to show whether it was appropriate to use deadly force to protect property and illustrate his attitude heading into Kenosha.

A motion to include the evidence earlier this year argued that the video “demonstrates that the defendant fervently sought to insert himself as an armed vigilante into situations that had nothing to do with him”,

“Don’t get brazen with me!” the judge told Mr Binger.

Following a recess, defence attorneys urged for a mistrial, arguing that prosecutors were acting in “bad faith”.

“If you want to yell at me, you can,” Mr Binger told the judge as he said that he was acting in good faith, trying to connect Mr Rittenhouse’s actions to his attitudes.

Prosecutors also have asked that the judge allow evidence of Mr Rittenhouse inside a bar in January 2021 with members of the nationalist gang the Proud Boys while wearing a T-shirt that said “Free As F***”.

“When you say you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe you,” Judge Schroeder said.

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