Just before jury deliberations were due to enter a third day in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse, Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz offered to hire the self-defense shooter teenager as an intern.
Speaking on a video with right-wing news site Newsmax on Wednesday night, Gaetz said Rittenhouse “deserves a not guilty verdict, and I sure hope he gets it because, you know what, Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a very good intern, and we can get in touch with him and see if he would be interested in helping the country in other ways.
Rittenhouse, 18, has been charged with several counts of homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangerment in the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and the Gaige Grosskreutz injury in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25. , 2020.
Rittenhouse – who traveled from his hometown of Antioch, Ill. And volunteered as a member of a right-wing militia – fired his AR-15 type assault rifle eight times at the men after they confronted him. They were participating in protests against police violence that had erupted two days earlier following the brutal shooting of Jacob Blake, an African American, by a white policeman from Kenosha.
The job offer for Rittenhouse by Gaetz, a far-right American representative who has connections with far-right deniers and who is one of the main supporters in Congress of coup leader Donald Trump, makes it clear that the campaigning to defend the teenage shooter and view him as a “hero” has become a central theme in the evolution of the Republican Party into a fascist movement.
In his interview with Newsmax, alongside the internship offer for Rittenhouse, Gaetz denounced the conviction of January 6 rioter Jacob Chansley, who wore a fur headdress with horns and was one of the first people to enter the Capitol as part of the mob assault on the Capitol that resulted in the deaths of five people. Gaetz claimed that the “QAnon Shaman” was “a non-violent and relatively harmless vegan” and that the 41-month prison sentence was “to settle some sort of political score.”
The third day of jury deliberations in the Rittenhouse trial on Thursday ended without a verdict. Legal experts have said that long deliberation in the case comes as no surprise and somehow does not indicate how the jury can decide the five remaining felony charges against Rittenhouse.
The jury spent an hour reviewing two videos of the events that immediately led to Rittenhouse’s filming of Rosenbaum, the first an infrared recording by an FBI surveillance plane over Kenosha, and the second a drone video. tour one block away.
Evidence in the videos, as presented by the prosecution, shows Rittenhouse pointing his assault rifle at Rosenbaum, prompting Rosenbaum to pursue Rittenhouse in the parking lot of the used car dealership CarSource. As Rosenbaum approaches Rittenhouse, the teenager turns and shoots his pursuer four times.
As District Attorney’s Deputy Principal Attorney Thomas Binger explained in his closing arguments, pointing his assault rifle at Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse cannot claim self-defense, “You cannot hide behind self-defense. defense if you caused the incident, ”Binger said. “If you have created the danger, you lose the right to self-defense.”
The importance of Rittenhouse pointing his gun at Rosenbaum was also underlined by the defense who filed a second motion on Wednesday to quash the trial over the drone video. Defense lawyer Corey Chirafisi argued that the prosecution provided the defense with a compressed low-resolution version of the video and said: “We would have handled this case in a little different way.”
The prosecution told the court that the low-resolution version of the video was accidentally transferred from one smartphone to another and the jury was able to see the high-resolution version of the video during oral argument and during Wednesday’s deliberations.
A previous motion to quash the trial had been filed by the defense on the grounds that the prosecution had violated Rittenhouse’s Fifth Amendment rights by referring to his tailoring his testimony to what he had heard from other witnesses say before speaking.
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has repeatedly intervened both pre-trial and during the trial to remove all reference to political ideology and Rittenhouse’s affiliations with right-wing and fascist elements, has yet to rule on either of the motions to quash the trial. Legal experts said it was both highly unusual for the defense to file more than one motion to quash the trial and for the judge to postpone his ruling.
There can be no other interpretation of Judge Schroeder’s refusal to rule on the defense’s first motion – as the jury enters a fourth day of deliberation – other than his desire to keep it in reserve if they decide to Rittenhouse’s guilt in a way he doesn’t agree with. and can cancel with a declaration of annulment of the trial.
Judge Schroeder further aided the defense by submitting overly complicated jury instructions (36 pages) which provide a deliberately contradictory explanation of the relationship between provocation and the deprivation of the right to self-defense. On the one hand, the judge told the jury that Rittenhouse had no “obligation to retreat” while saying that a person who provokes someone – for example, by pointing a loaded gun at them – can ” act legally on its own. defense ”if they reasonably believe they are“ in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm ”.
On Wednesday morning, Judge Schroeder launched a rant against media reports of the trial, particularly criticism of his ban on prosecutors using the word “victim” to describe those shot by Rittenhouse, allowing Rittenhouse to selecting the final jurors from a raffle bowl and his refusal to rule on the first motion to quash the trial.
The judge said he would “give long and serious thought” to the possibility of allowing television media to enter the courtroom in the future. He said, “[i]It’s just a shame that irresponsible statements are being made ”, referring to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who cited legal experts on his blocking on the motion to quash the trial.