Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Drone Footage Could Prove 'Ugly' for Prosecution

The second day of deliberations in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was halted as jurors asked to re-watch several videos presented as evidence, including drone footage that's at the center of the defense's call for a mistrial.

Lawyers for the 18-year-old defendant have argued that the case should be dismissed because the prosecution presented them with inferior quality drone footage before showing the jury a high-resolution version during closing arguments.

Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi called for a mistrial without prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could be retried, after alleging the prosecution deliberately withheld the higher-quality footage.

"The idea that the state would provide lesser quality footage and then use that footage as a linchpin in their case and it is the very reason they requested and were granted the provocation instruction by the court," Rittenhouse's defense team wrote, while filing for a mistrial.

"The failure to provide the same quality footage in this particular case is intentional and clearly prejudices the defendant."

Judge Bruce Schroeder didn't immediately rule on the new mistrial request. He did allow the jury to re-watch the drone footage, but warned the prosecution if the video proves to be unreliable that "it's going to be ugly" for them.

"There's a day of reckoning with respect to these things," he said. "If they got everything correct and it's reliable, then they won't have a problem. But if it isn't, it's going to be ugly."

Schroeder added that he will address the mistrial request if Rittenhouse is found guilty of the homicide charges against him. If granted, the guilty verdict will be void and Rittenhouse could face a new trial.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Ion Meyn, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, said the judge could grant a mistrial even if he finds the prosecution merely made an honest mistake.

However, he said that this is unlikely as there must be proof that the prosecution's actions influenced the jury.

"You can't just say, 'The state gave me a lower-quality video and therefore I get a mistrial,'" Meyn said. "That's a losing argument for sure."

What the Drone Footage Showed

The prosecution were hoping the drone footage proved Rittenhouse was an instigator of the violence in Kenosha last August.

The video shown to the jury by the prosecution appears to show Rittenhouse pointing his gun at protesters before being chased by Joseph Rosenbaum. The prosecution argued that the footage also shows that Rosenbaum didn't lunge toward Rittenhouse's rifle before the then 17-year-old fired at him four times.

Prosecutor James Kraus argued that the defense only received a compressed version of the footage because it had been sent to them via email.

"I do not believe an unknown technical incident should result in a mistrial," he said.

The prosecution said the drone footage is also a piece of key evidence as it shows Rittenhouse lied during his testimony when he said he didn't point his rifle at the Black Lives Matter protesters that night.

Second Call for a Mistrial

This is the second time during proceedings that the defense has called for a mistrial.

In the first week of proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was reprimanded by the judge for asking Rittenhouse about a video that had already been ruled as inadmissible evidence.

Binger was also condemned for asking Rittenhouse why he is now only just speaking publicly about the case, despite defendants having the legal right to remain silent until their trial in order not to incriminate themselves.

The defense called for a mistrial with prejudice, which if granted would mean that Rittenhouse couldn't be tried again, over Binger's actions.

The defense argued the prosecution purposely sought to have the case thrown out because it was "going badly" for them.

kyle rittenhouse drone footage
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, lead defense attorney Mark Richards and Kyle Rittenhouse look at drone video evidence on a monitor during Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 10, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Mark Hertzberg-Pool/Getty Images