As jurors weighed the evidence presented during the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, one of his former attorneys indicated that he believed the 18-year-old defendant would likely be acquitted.
The case has fueled nationwide attention for months as Rittenhouse faced decades behind bars if convicted of charges stemming from a shooting last year during a violent protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The teenager was found not guilty on all charges on Friday.
“This judge is terrific”
Rittenhouse testified that he opened fire, leaving two people dead and another injured, in self-defense.
That testimony appeared to be bolstered by multiple pieces of evidence presented during the trial — including the testimony of the man who survived the shooting.
Many legal experts — including attorney John Pierce — believed that jurors were likely to support an acquittal.
Pierce, who represented Rittenhouse at one point, offered his unique perspective on the case during a recent Fox News Channel interview. He predicted one of two outcomes: a “full acquittal” or a mistrial.
“This judge is terrific, Judge Schroeder,” the lawyer said, according to Fox. “He might be the best judge I’ve ever seen. He is no-nonsense. He sticks to the facts of the law. He was obviously outraged at some of the instances of prosecutorial misconduct. Everyone saw that.”
“You cannot do that”
Pierce’s admonition of “misconduct” is rooted in multiple examples, including when the prosecution sought to capitalize on the fact that Rittenhouse exercised his constitutional right to remain silent.
“And that is just trial advocacy 101 for prosecution,” the attorney asserted. “You cannot do that.”
Aside from acquittal or a mistrial, he said the only other conceivable outcome would be a hung jury. The defense has requested a mistrial based on claims that the prosecution withheld key evidence that it ultimately presented in court.
The judge did not rule on any such motions, signaling an intention to wait until the jury reached its verdict. After about three days of deliberation, that decision was announced on Friday.
Pierce and others seemed certain that the evidence should convince jurors that the shooting was an act of self-defense — but with the case still in the hands of 12 jurors, it was never clear what the outcome would be.