Top legal expert Andrew Branca criticized the defense team of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse for acting “passively” and not properly and “aggressively” advocating for their client, whose “life is at stake.”
Rittenhouse, on trial for double homicide, faces life in prison without parole. Branca, a leading self-defense attorney and author, told The Daily Wire on Wednesday that he believes there are “absolutely” grounds for the trial to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could not be retried.
Though the defense team earlier this week filed a motion asking for just that — a mistrial with prejudice, the team in court asked the judge Wednesday only once for a mistrial without prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could be retried. The defense went as far as to say they “know” the judge can’t grant a mistrial “with prejudice.”
“You know, another name for a lawyer is advocate,” Branca said Thursday morning on the legal Youtube channel Rekieta Law. “And I don’t see these people advocating for their client, fighting for their client.”
“My perspective of the law is, if you’re a criminal defense attorney, you’re a fighter — you’re a fighter for hire for that client,” he continued. “And to just sit there passively, like you’re at some bureaucratic meeting where papers are gonna be shuffled and some mediator is gonna come to some decision, when the kid’s life at stake. I mean, here’s looking at life in prison without possibility of early release, worst case scenario.”
“I don’t know why they need to be urged to aggressively advocate for their client,” Branca criticized, after it was noted the defense team could get a second-go at the trial if it’s dismissed. “It shouldn’t take the internet to tell them that, these are experienced attorneys.”
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, the prosecution on Wednesday admitted that they gave the defense team a different video file, one of significantly lesser quality, than the drone footage the state had:
Assistant District Attorney James Kraus conceded that the file he sent defense attorney Natalie Wisco was a different version of the drone video the state had, but blamed the email of Kenosha Detective Martin Howard, who testified in the case, for “compressing” the file before Kraus eventually sent it to Wisco.
Kraus told the court he had the larger file when Howard airdropped the video to him. For some reason, Howard also allegedly emailed him the video, and it was “compressed” by Howard’s email, Kraus is claiming. “If it was emailed, it was compressed,” the prosecutor told the court, “if he airdropped it, it was complete.”
During the back and forth, Judge Bruce Schroeder said this issue would have to be addressed further and indicted his disapproval with prosecution for relying on the video, saying it made him feel “very queazy.”
The drone footage in question is critical to the trial. As outlined by National Review, the defense has asked Schroeder for a mistrial with prejudice (which, if granted, would mean Rittenhouse could not be retried) based on the prosecution withholding the evidence, which had already been admitted into evidence and presented to the jury.
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