Rittenhouse Verdict: “if somebody so clearly acting in self-defense had been found guilty, it would have been almost unimaginable”
My interview on the Tony Katz Show just after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was announced.
I appeared today on the Tony Katz Show shortly after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Here is my segment:
(Auto-generated, may contain transcription errors. Time stamps approximate.)
Tony Katz (00:00):
We’re following this case. William Jacobson, Cornell law professor here to break down his take on the verdict and how he thinks it played out in the jury room. Kyle Rittenhouse, not guilty. All charges, Tony Katz. This is Tony Katz today….
It’s not guilty on all charges in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial…. William Jacobson joins us right now from Legal Insurrection, Cornell law professor that he is, he has been following the case at Legal Insurrection, and they’ve already got the email out. It is up at the site, legalinsurrection.com, not guilty on all counts. Let’s break it down from some interesting perspectives there. William Jacobson is this the result you expected and what makes you think it took four days to get there?
William Jacobson (01:46):
Well, it’s certainly the result that should have been. I mean, everybody was wondering why is it taking so long. I guess it took them that long to get to the right result. I’m assuming that there was a hold out, that there’s maybe one or two or three people who had to be convinced.But if somebody so clearly not guilty, so clearly acting in self-defense had been found guilty, it would have been almost unimaginable.
Tony Katz (02:27):
One of the things, one of the things that we we see, one of the things that, that, that we, we, we looked at as, as we look at this case, is that the prosecution really wanted to make the claim that the problem is, is that Kyle Rittenhouse was there. If Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t there, none of this would have happened. Why did that not work as a defense?
William Jacobson (02:54):
Because there was nothing illegal about him being there. They even had to throw out the gun charge. That was kind of the prosecution’s hook into him doing something wrong, that he was under age carrying a gun in violation of Wisconsin law that turned out not to be true, and the judge threw it out before it ever got to the jury. So without that, what is it that he did wrong? What is it that he shouldn’t have been there?
He was entitled to be there like every other citizen, and he was not committing a crime when he was there. So I think it just fell apart. I mean, that’s kind of immediate shorter of narrative. That’s a frankly anti-Trump Republican narrative. You’re hearing from a lot of them, well, maybe he acted in self-defense, but he shouldn’t have been there. Well, he’s entitled to be there just like everybody else.
Tony Katz (03:41):
… Did anybody, did any of these charges make you think, well, it’s possible a jury could do this, that or the other?
William Jacobson (04:30):
No, actually not in a rational way. Yes, could something strange have happened? Sure. I mean, that’s what we’re always fearing. But no, there was nothing there that led me to think this was likely to result in a guilty finding other than the fact that I couldn’t understand why they’re taking so long.
Tony Katz (04:55):
Let me get into what we had heard from the defense, which was a series of conversations about mistrials. There was a conversation about a mistrial during the case when the prosecution brought into evidence pieces that were already ruled inadmissible. There was a conversation about mistrial when the video evidence wasn’t turned over in a timely manner and possibly was the wrong video evidence, there was a conversation of with prejudice, meaning the trial could not be brought, Rittenhouse could not be brought back to trial, without prejudice, which means the prosecution could have gone at the case. Again, the judge didn’t act on those things. He only heard those things. He didn’t rule on them. Was he saving that? Was he saving that for, if they decide to declare guilty that he could have then said, all right, we’ve got a mistrial start all over.
William Jacobson (05:44):
Yes. Why should he rule on things he might not have to rule on? And he knew that first of all, it’s a powerful self-defense case. So the judge had to know there was a strong likelihood, if not a certainty, that there would be a not guilty finding and the not guilty finding washes away all of that stuff. It doesn’t matter in the sense that they withheld all this stuff, that they maybe manipulated, things that they did all these bad things because he’s not guilty. So I think the judge was doing what so many people, you know, do that. So many judges do, which is don’t decide something you may not have to decide.
Tony Katz (06:24):
… Do these prosecutors have, these assistant district attorneys, will they find themselves in a world of hurt? Will there be a conversation about their actions on the stand, how they presented evidence, evidence that was ruled inadmissible, how they questioned Kyle Rittenhouse on whether or not he had the right to stay silent? Is there, is there a, a future problem for these ADA’s?
William Jacobson (07:04):
Possibly depends how big a deal the defense wants to make out of it? I think if the defense wants to make something out of it, then maybe somebody will do something. I don’t think it’s kind of going to happen on its own, but, you know, there were some real weird, you know, stuff that went on here.
Tony Katz (07:30):
I don’t disagree. There was tremendous, weird stuff that went on here…. Does Kyle Rittenhouse have that kind of case against news outlets that have referred to him as a white supremacist and a murderer?
William Jacobson (08:33):
Well, I think you’ll have to look at the words that were said, if they made false statements of fact knowing that those statements were false, potentially you do, but you gotta remember he was a very public figure. Maybe not before this, but for the purpose of this case certainly, what I think is often referred to as a special purpose public figure. So you’re going to have to show actual malice. You’re going to have to show more than negligence. And so there probably are some people out there that would be potentially subject to suit, but there probably are also a lot who just had sloppy opinions and those people probably will not be subject to anything.
Tony Katz (09:16):
William Jacobson, Cornell law, professor the mind behind legal insurrection.com. I appreciate you taking the time to be with us. We’ve got more.
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