Trial Of Ahmaud Arbery Killers Continues In Brunswick, Georgia BRUNSWICK, GA - NOVEMBER 17: Travis McMichael speaks from the witness stand during his trial in the Glynn County Courthouse on November 17, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia. Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan are charged with the February 2021 slaying of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. (Photo by Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Getty Images) Pool / Pool
Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Pool/Getty Images

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Thursday | November 18th, 2021

It’s Thursday, November 18th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) Defense Files For Mistrial In Kyle Rittenhouse Case

The Topline: On Wednesday, Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys filed a motion for a mistrial, alleging prosecutorial misconduct.

Quote Of The Day: “We would have done this case in a different manner.”

– Defense Attorney Corey Chirafisi

Mark Hertzberg-Pool/Pool/Getty Images

Mistrial Request

The main issue revolved around key drone footage that captured the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum — the first man shot by Rittenhouse — which the defense team says they were not given a full resolution copy of. Apparently the defense did not realize they had a reduced resolution copy of this footage until Friday, after all the arguments were given and the footage was played in front of the jury, at which point the observation was made that the prosecution’s version of the video appeared clearer than the defenses. 

What We Know

The footage was shot by a civilian and very early on was in the possession of Rittenhouse’s original legal team. It was somehow lost when Rittenhouse changed counsel. 

The same footage was also purchased and aired by Tucker Carlson. On November 5th of 2021, the civilian turned over the footage to the state, and the state claims they promptly shared it with the defense. 

Defense attorney Natalie Wisco claims her copy, which was shared with her via email from the same detective who shared it with the state, was about 4MB, whereas it was discovered the state’s version was around 11MB, with significantly sharper image quality. 

She noticed her team’s version of the footage was saved under a different file name than the sharper quality version in possession of the state at the state crime lab. 

She also noticed the metadata of the file showed a different creation time — 21 minutes later — than the file at the state crime lab. 

Possible Explanation

The prosecution says they believe the file could have been compressed during the emailing process, and Morning Wire spoke to experts who have confirmed that process could have changed the file name as well. 

At the moment, it’s unclear whether the email server that either the detective or Wisco used compressed the file, but Judge Schroeder said they would need an expert witness to testify about the technological aspect of things.

The state pointed out it was the defense that was initially in possession of the file, and they had no reason to think Rittenhouses’s original counsel wouldn’t have shared the footage with the new team. They also claimed the amount of time between receiving the file from the detective and passing it on to the defense was insufficient to have tampered with it, and emphasized the defense did not object to the state’s use of the higher resolution footage or inclusion of it in the case at any point prior to Friday afternoon. 

Outside the courthouse: A 20-year-old man was arrested for battery and a 34-year-old woman for disorderly conduct after isolated scuffles occurred at small protests outside the courthouse. 

Nic Antaya/Stringer/Getty Images

2) OSHA Suspends Biden Vaccine Mandate

The Topline:  In an apparent reversal from the Biden administration, OSHA has suspended the implementation of its controversial vaccine mandate for private employers. 

Quote Of The Day: “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”

– OSHA’s webpage

The Suspension

On Wednesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspended implementation of the Biden administration’s controversial vaccine mandate for private employers, which threatens companies with fines of over $100,000 per infraction if they don’t require employees to be vaccinated or tested for COVID. 

The move comes after a federal court blocked the mandate last week, calling it a “staggering overreach” and likely unconstitutional. 

OSHA’s suspension of the rule is a reversal for the administration, which initially signaled it would move forward with the mandate despite the court’s ruling against it. 

Based on their choice of words, it’s likely they don’t intend to wait until the 6th Circuit reaches a final ruling, and will file a motion to lift the stay. However, the court could still take several weeks, or months, before issuing a ruling.

This decision will also likely impact a potential enforcement date, as the mandate was supposed to go into effect on January 4th. 

What’s Next?

First, it’s likely there will be an effort by those in favor of the mandate to transfer the case to different courts they consider to be more favorable. 

Second, the Biden administration will likely attempt to have the stay lifted. 

Third, some of the plaintiffs have already filed a petition that the 6th Circuit immediately hear the case en banc – meaning instead of selecting a panel of three judges, all 16 judges in the 6th Circuit would rule on the case. This would save the court’s and the parties’ time, but that decision is up to the court.

Octavio Jones-Pool/Pool/Getty Images

3) Defendant Testifies In Ahmaud Arbery Trial

The Topline: A defendant in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery took the stand Wednesday to give his side of the story after the prosecution rested their case.

Quote Of The Day: “I shot him…He had my gun. He struck me, it was obvious that he was … attacking me, that if he [would] have [gotten] the shotgun from me, then it was a … life or death situation.”

–Travis McMichael, charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery 

The Case

In February 2020, three white men who lived in a South Georgia neighborhood chased down Ahmaud Arbery, a black man. Travis McMichael, and his father Gregory McMichael, grabbed guns and began pursuing Arbery by car after he ran past their yard, which was near a vacant property. Their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., also followed Arbery in a different car. 

Gregory McMichael, a former police officer and investigator, has said he believed Arbery had recently broken into places in the neighborhood. Last week, jurors saw videos of Arbery walking through the property five separate times between October 25th, 2019, and February 23rd, 2020. The last time was moments before he was chased down and shot by Travis McMichael during a confrontation between the two. 

The case received national attention when a video clip recorded from one of the cars was put out in May 2020. 

All three men are facing multiple charges including murder and aggravated assault. If convicted, they could spend their lives in prison, but they’re pleading not guilty. 

The Prosecution

Head prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said, “All three of these defendants did everything they did based on assumptions —  not on fact, not on evidence, on assumptions.” 

Jurors were shown photos of the shirt Arbery was wearing when he was shot, which was completely red, presumably from his blood since video shows it had been white. 

The jury was also able to see close-up pictures of his face. 

A forensic pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Arbery’s body testified that he concluded Arbery was shot at close range. 

The Defense

The defense called defendant Travis McMichael to the stand on Wednesday, and he gave an emotional testimony.  

It appears they will state the shooting was self-defense after an attempt at a citizen’s arrest. Travis McMichael has said Arbery attacked him, and the actions he took were in self-defense. 

At the time in Georgia, a citizen’s arrest law stated that under certain conditions, someone could arrest” a person who committed a crime. The law was repealed and replaced with different phrasing after the shooting of Arbery.

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Record Overdose Deaths

Deaths from drug overdose in America reached more than 100,000 annually for the first time ever. According to recent CDC data, this is 28.5% higher than the same time last year and nearly double when compared to the past 5 years. Experts are saying synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, remain the driving cause behind this rise. 

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