Democratic boosters and others called for a mistrial in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse after Judge Bruce Schroeder cell phone went off mid-hearing, playing “God Bless The U.S.A.”
Schroeder’s phone went off momentarily in court on Wednesday and the judge’s mic picked up his ringtone, broadcasting it to the courtroom and those watching the proceedings online. Schroeder, appearing annoyed, immediately silenced his phone and moved on with the trial.
Critics said that the ringtone was evidence of bias because former President Donald Trump would also play the Lee Greenwood song at his campaign rallies. One prominent progressive, Bryan Behar, claimed the patriotic song is the “MAGA national anthem.”
“Apparently, the judge in the Rittenhouse case has Lee Greenwood as his ringtone. That’s literally the MAGA national anthem. Can’t we just jump ahead to the appeal?” television writer Bryan Behar tweeted.
Progressive commentator Lindy Li claimed Schroeder’s ringtone is “Trump’s theme song” and accused the judge of “performing for the Fox News lemmings.”
“The judge’s phone rang during the Rittenhouse trial,” Li tweeted. “It was Trump’s theme song which played every time he was on stage. I kid you not.”
“Same judge who just aggressively yelled at the prosecutor, prohibited him from calling the victims victims & is acting like Kyle’s defense lawyer,” she continued. “He attacked CNN in court and constantly interferes with Rittenhouse’s cross examination, playing defense for the murderer[.] Schroeder doesn’t seem to care about maintaining even a veneer of fairness. He’s outright performing for the Fox News lemmings.”
Pete Souza, former Chief Official White House Photographer for former President Barack Obama, retweeted a video of Schroeder’s phone going off, saying, “Mistrial. Assign a new judge.”
Schroeder ripped into the prosecution on Wednesday during Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger’s questioning of Rittenhouse, who is on trial for killing two men and wounding a third during a riot last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Schroeder accused Binger of risking a violation the defendant’s constitutional rights for bringing up Rittenhouse’s “pretrial silence.” As The Daily Wire reported:
Schroeder stopped the trial and sent the jury into a nearby room minutes after Binger had begun his examination of Rittenhouse.
“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,” Schroeder said. “I can’t think of an initial case on it, but this is not permitted.”
Later on during Binger’s examination, the judge sent the jury out again after the prosecutor began to veer into a line of questioning that Binger did not approve with Schroeder beforehand, and that Schroeder had suggested he would forbid in pretrial hearings. The second infraction brought an explosion from the judge over the first, and Schroeder again ripped into Binger for potentially violating Rittenhouse’s rights protected under the Constitution.
“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence. That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that! And it gives, well, I’ll leave it at that. So I don’t know what you’re up to,” Schroeder said.
“I have to be concerned that, with what Mr. Richards has said about the progress of the trial when you were way, well, I said you were close to or over the line on commenting on the defendant’s pretrial silence, which is a well-known rule,” the judge later added. “I am astonished that that would have been an issue. So I don’t want to have another issue for as long as this case continues. Is that clear?”
“It is,” Binger replied before the jury was again brought back to the courtroom.