Analysis

Prosecutor’s Laptop Had Video Compression Software Handbrake, Rittenhouse Links To Withheld Evidence

   DailyWire.com
Assistant District Attorney James Kraus gets ready to question a witness during Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 5, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images

Kyle Rittenhouse linked a video compression software on a laptop from prosecution to the withheld evidence to defense from the state.

“Assistant District Attorney Kraus had a software installed on his computer called HandBrake — and this is just speculation — but put two and two together, if we get a decompressed video. I think it is a three megabyte file of the drone video when they have an 11 megabyte [drone video] and he has HandBrake installed on his computer,” Rittenhouse told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “We got an extremely decompressed version of the drone video.”

“Right,” Carlson replied. “So, I mean, in a normal trial, I mean, that would be grounds for mistrial right there. … You have to be provided the same evidence that the prosecution is provided by definition.”

A PBS livestream of the Rittenhouse trial revealed that the laptop used by ADA James Kraus has a software program on it called Handbreak, which Heavy.com describes as “video compression software.”

According to its website, “HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.”

More specifically, a 2020 Shutterstock Tutorial video with over 100,000 views shows users how to use Handbrake to compress files. “In this video we take a look at Handbrake, a free software that can get you significantly smaller file sizes for your videos,” the description reads.

The sight of the program made waves online due to discrepancies concerning video evidence from the state with the defense team. As highlighted by The Daily Wire, prosecutor Kraus admitted in court last Wednesday that the state did indeed send the defense team a different video file than the larger, better quality video they had.

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.”

Some internet sleuths who picked up on the still of the prosecution laptop claimed malice on Kraus’ part, speculating that he likely used Handbreak to compress the file himself. Heavy.com noted that the software being on the laptop does not prove that, since “it’s possible he has the software for other purpose[s].”

Notably, during the back and forth, Judge Bruce Schroeder said this issue would have to be addressed further and indicated his disapproval with prosecution for relying on the video, saying it made him feel “very queasy.”

The drone footage in question was critical to the trial. As outlined by National Review, the defense had 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.

“The video footage has been at the center of this case,” reads the motion from defense. “The failure to provide the same quality footage in this particular case is intentional and clearly prejudices the defendant.”

Rittenhouse was ultimately found not guilty of all charges.

Related: WATCH: Rittenhouse Prosecution Admits They Sent Different Video To Defense Team, Blames Witness’ Email

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