Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers have asked for a mistrial on various grounds, including charges that prosecutors withheld crucial evidence. The state provided them with a sub-par copy of the video that could be crucial evidence in the case.
The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse case returned home empty-handed after 16 hours of deliberation. Rittenhouse’s defense team requested of the judge a mistrial while the jury deliberated.
Attorneys for the defense claimed that their client should be retried because they received a lower-quality version of a vital video than the prosecution. Defense lawyers used a 4 MB video file, while prosecutors had an 11 MB file, which provided greater clarity.
“I think if we’re going to do this in a way that’s free from anybody hiding anyone, anybody not having the same evidence as someone else has, where it is a level fair playing field, we have to ask for this,” said Corey Chirafisi, defense attorney.
The state is blaming Natalie Wisco, a defense attorney, and her smartphone-reported cbs58.
Prosecutors claim that Wisco’s phone compressed the file, lowering its quality. On the other hand, Wisco denies this, claiming that the state sent a completely different file.
“Never looked at it on my phone,” said Wisco. “As soon as I got it I downloaded it to the evidentiary laptop we’ve been using the whole time.”
The state’s case hinges on the footage in question. Prosecutors believe that it shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at the victim, therefore inciting the confrontation and canceling his claim of self-defense, reports the Daily Wire.
“The video footage has been at the center of this case,” reads the motion from the 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 that the apparent video withholding “absolutely calls for a mistrial with prejudice,”, especially when compounded with other offenses by the 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 via email, reported Daily Wire.
According to the legal expert, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger attempted to use prohibited evidence, risking a violation of Rittenhouse’s Fifth Amendment rights.
“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 emphasized the prosecution’s reliance on the drone video evidence in the issue, emphasizing his case for 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,” he said. “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.
Judge Bruce Schroeder did not rule on the request right away, preferring to let the jury decide on Rittenhouse’s fate.