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Liberal CNN Host Chris Cuomo said that the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was justified by the law and the facts, despite his contention that the outcome was an instance of “systemic racism.”
During the handoff segment of his show, “Cuomo Prime Time,” Cuomo told fellow CNN host Don Lemon that he thought the verdict and the subsequent protests were “a terrible situation,” and pointed out that because of systemic racism, “you’re going to have people saying if he was black, this would be different.”
He did concede, however, that the verdict “is justified by the law and the facts,” and “that’s what we should want every time.”
“We want this outcome no matter who the defendant is,” Cuomo said.
Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all five counts against him after he shot three men in self-defense during the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. Rittenhouse, who is originally from Antioch, Illinois, but who spent time in Kenosha because much of his family lives there, went into the city on the night of August 25 to render medical aid and guard local businesses from vandals who were rioting against the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The verdict drew vitriolic reactions from left-wing activists, public figures, and politicians ranging from actors like George Takei and Josh Gad, to political commentator Van Jones, to Critical Race Theory writers Ibram X. Kendi and Nikole Hannah-Jones, to politicians like Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom and far-left “Squad” members Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
Partial transcript via CNN:
CUOMO: You know, you know you’re going to have people saying if he was black this would be different, right? Because we’re dealing with systemic injustice right now.
And even though this verdict, I believe, is justified by the law and the facts here, that’s what we should want every time, people are frustrated that you wouldn’t get it if he was black even though this may be the right outcome.
But, at the same time you’re doing that, you’re going to have him be weaponized by one of the most toxic people in our society.
LEMON: Well, so therefore, when that judge said — dressed down the prosecution. This, when he, you know, [dressed] down the prosecution. The prosecution did a lot of things wrong, right? I mean, this really rests on —
CUOMO: But they had a hard case. The facts and the —
LEMON: They had a hard case, but they didn’t do a good job even with a hard case. I mean, that’s obvious to see. And the judge — the judge is, you know, and I’ve said this before. Think when you want to think about the judge where you think he is biased, it’s not my business.
The judge’s behavior, I think also divided people in this case. If you look at the judge and we’ve talked about this, we talked about it on our podcast version of this handoff. The judge in Georgia doing the right thing, conducting himself in moderation, in the right way, and then you have this judge who is yelling at people even though the jury didn’t see most of that, they still — they understand what’s happening. They get the sense of what is going on. They see, you know, the judge’s reaction — what the judge is doing, if he’s making coffee during closing arguments. Little things like that.
So, you know, I think it’s problematic. This gave us a window into our court system, our justice system, and I think these are examples of what is happening around the country of reform, whether you think it’s about race or whatever it is, but just to make it more equitable for all people involved and not to use people as political weapons or cudgels because you want to promote yourself, because you are on a grift.
The attorney that represented him, that, you know, because he got the acquittal, he did the right thing, he’s doing the right thing. The right — and he called their names. I don’t have to. And there are others who are involved, as well.
Those are the people who are problematic in this society. Those are the people who are causing the divisions because they are the ambulance chasers and you can have ambulance chasers, as well in media.
CUOMO: Look, I think that this is a terrible situation and why he is — while he’s not guilty, there is a lot about this situation, while he had the right to do it under the law, it wasn’t right.
CUOMO: It was wrong, and it’s hurtful, and people are dead, and it sends a bad message.
LEMON: We shouldn’t be celebrating people carrying, you know, assault style weapons around in the street openly. Whether it’s Kyle — I’ve said this, whether Kyle Rittenhouse or whomever —
LEMON: — that’s what law enforcement is for.
CUOMO: I hear you, but the law rules and the law here is the bad guy.