The defense in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has moved for a mistrial on the basis that the prosecution withheld crucial evidence.
The 18-year-old Rittenhouse currently faces multiple charges, including homicide, for shooting three men — two of them fatally — during the racial justice riots that took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020.
Drone footage showing the events unfold that night was given to the defense. However, the version the defense received was allegedly of lower quality than the high-definition footage the prosecution was in possession of.
Now, questions are swirling over how exactly the footage may have been compressed and degraded.
One possible answer may have been found on the prosecution’s laptop.
During closing arguments, the prosecution pulled up various files in order to make its case.
While doing so, the video compression software Handbrake can be seen installed on a laptop used by the prosecution.
In the below video of the trial’s closing arguments, the Handbrake app can be seen in the computer files.
On Wednesday, the prosecution offered another possible explanation for how the file may have been compressed.
Assistant District Attorney James Kraus explained to Judge Bruce Schroeder that an accidental compression of the file may have occurred when the prosecution sent the file from a iPhone device to an Android phone owned by the defense.
“Detective [Martin] Howard asked them how they would like to receive it. Miss [Natalie] Wisco asked that it be emailed to her. He emailed her the file,” Kraus said.
“Now somewhere along the lines, whether it was … it appears the issue is, I believe Miss Wisco could not have it airdropped because she has an Android phone. Going from an iPhone to an Android, it appears somehow compressed the file. We did not know that this would occur.”
Kraus claims the prosecution took no part in altering the video that the defense was given.
Nevertheless, on this basis, the defense moved for a mistrial without prejudice (meaning the state could refile charges) on Wednesday afternoon.
“We watched the video. I can tell you what we think, but it doesn’t matter what we think, because we don’t get to present that to the jury anymore,” defense lawyer Corey Chirafisi said.
“And I think if we’re going to try to do this in a way that is free from anybody hiding anything, anybody not having the same evidence as everybody else has … we have to ask for this, and I’m asking for it.”