Kyle Rittenhouse trial: What is the self-defense law?
Kyle Rittenhouse took the witness stand Wednesday as he argued he fired in self-defense when he shot three people in August 2020 during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin that broke over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse, 18, has argued the men had attacked him. To win an acquittal on self-defense, he must show he reasonably feared for his life and used an appropriate amount of force. His testimony was the best way to give jurors insight into what he was thinking, legal observers say, but it exposed him to prosecutors’ cross-examination.
At Ghislaine Maxwell’s upcoming sex-trafficking trial, jurors may hear about ritzy locations such as former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach and two world-famous performing arts schools, according to comments made in court. © Provided by The Daily Beast Mark Mainz/Getty Images
On Tuesday, Judge Alison Nathan began the voir dire process of jury selection, which involves questioning 231 potential jurors about their possible biases. Nathan asked members of the pool whether they have opinions about wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell, his accused accomplice and former girlfriend, that make it difficult to be fair and impartial in the case.
Rittenhouse trial judge receiving threatening messages, reports say
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has been presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial in Wisconsin, has been receiving threatening emails, faxes and other messages, according to reports. The threats have included some aimed at the judge’s family members, the Daily Mail reported. The messages also include accusations of racism against the judge and demands that he withdraw from the case, according to the Washington Examiner. "Enjoy your term, judge, it’s going to be your LAST," one message read, the Examiner reported. "If I ever meet you in person, I fully intend to spit directly into your face, regardless the cost.
Nathan also asked potential jurors whether they have views about “people who are wealthy or have luxurious lifestyles,” (none said that they did) or know any witnesses, addresses and entities mentioned in the case. Jurors were presented with a list of those people and places and asked to review it before letting Nathan know whether any names were familiar. That record, however, isn't publicly available.
But under questioning by Nathan, multiple jurors mentioned they knew of Mar-a-Lago and Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy, where Epstein was a donor in the 1990s, had a rental cabin and allegedly preyed on teen girls. One victim has said Maxwell and Epstein recruited her at the prestigious arts school in 1994 when she was around 13 years old, and that Epstein brought her to Trump's resort and asked the tycoon, “This is a good one, right?” According to the victim's lawsuit, Trump smiled and shared a laugh with the perverted financier. (The victim doesn't accuse Trump of any wrongdoing.)
Kyle Rittenhouse’s former lawyer predicted weapons charge dismissal a year ago in politically charged case
Kyle Rittenhouse’s future went to the 12-person jury Tuesday – in a case whose outcome has local residents bracing for the chance of renewed protests and Americans from coast to coast watching closely.John Pierce, a lawyer who previously represented Rittenhouse but no longer does, said he believes the prosecution has a weak, politically motivated case aimed at making a point rather than serving justice.
Meanwhile, at least one person reviewed the list and said they were familiar with Professional Children’s School, a prep school focused on the arts and athletics in Manhattan with a roster of famous alumni, including Yo-Yo Ma, Scarlett Johansson, and Macaulay Culkin. It’s unclear why the school could be mentioned at Maxwell's criminal trial.
Some potential jurors said in court that they’d heard of Epstein on the news, in particular after he died in jail, but not Maxwell.
One 24-year-old woman said she'd heard of Mar-a-Lago but that “would not impact my ability to be impartial.” She also told the court she'd once reported a professor who was allegedly coercing a student into a sexual relationship with them. That incident also wouldn't impact her suitability on the jury, she said.
A 41-year-old man, who said he has friends who went to Interlochen and the Professional Children’s School, also indicated he’d have no issues with being impartial. He did comment, however, that “historically, the legal system hasn’t worked out for certain members of society.”
Rittenhouse prosecutor 'very close' to violating 'golden rule' of law, criminal defense attorneys say
Prosecutor Thomas Binger was "very close" to violating the "golden rule" of law during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, according to criminal defense attorney Ajay Pallegar. The golden rule is when a prosecutor or other party in a criminal defense makes a statement of an emotional nature to the jury, such as: "Put yourself in the victim's shoes.
About 600 prospective jurors filled out questionnaires this month, and the final panel will be cut down to 12 jurors and six alternates. Opening statements in the six-week trial in Manhattan federal court are scheduled to begin on Nov. 29.
Prosecutors say Maxwell groomed and abused at least four underage girls for her ex-boyfriend, the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, from 1994 through 2004. She has pleaded not guilty and adamantly denies any wrongdoing.
The FBI arrested the 59-year-old heiress in New Hampshire in July 2020, one year after Epstein was indicted in New York for the sex-trafficking of minors. When Epstein killed himself in jail while awaiting trial in August 2019, prosecutors shifted focus to the socialite, who they say was Epstein’s chief cooperator.
Maxwell is charged with six counts including sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking conspiracy. If convicted, she faces up to 80 years behind bars.
Over the weekend, the Daily Mail published a jailhouse interview with Maxwell, who claimed she’s been mistreated at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. Her lawyers have made similar accusations this year, even suggesting she got a “black eye” from constantly shielding her face from her jail cell’s harsh lighting.
Fox News Host Jesse Watters Defends MSNBC After Rittenhouse Trial Ban
After the judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse trial banned MSNBC from entering the courthouse on Thursday, Fox News host Jesse Watters actually came to the defense of his cable-news rival. Well, sort of. Earlier in the day, Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has roundly criticized the media throughout the tense court proceedings, announced that Kenosha Police had briefly apprehended James G. Morrison, a man who claimed to be an MSNBC producer. Morrison was pulled over for running a red light while supposedly trailing the bus transporting the jury, with police alleging he was trying to photograph jurors.
Maxwell’s lawyers say the government has unfairly made her a proxy for Epstein, but victims and their attorneys have for years alleged the socialite was a procurer for the perverted money-manager. (At an August 2019 hearing marking the end of Epstein’s charges, one accuser told the court, “Jeffrey is no longer here, and the women that helped him are,” before naming Maxwell and alleged co-conspirator Sarah Kellen as his accomplices.)
“I fear it will be impossible to get a fair trial,” Maxwell told friends, according to the Mail. “I have tremendous fear that overwhelmingly negative media stories will poison my jury pool and affect the outcome of my trial despite the evidence that will demonstrate everything the jurors thought they knew isn’t true.”
“I look forward to finally having my day in court to prove I played no part in Epstein’s crimes,” Maxwell added.
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Lawyers left racism out of the trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s death. Here’s why. .
Prosecutors made no mention of the slain 25-year-old’s race until the very end of the trial.They concluded that racial animus guided Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan to pursue Arbery and shoot him without cause. For many who saw the video, that a Black man who was jogging down the street in the middle of the day was then cornered and shot dead by three white men unquestionably constituted a lynching motivated by the color of Arbery’s skin as he traveled through a mostly white suburb of Georgia.