The judge presiding over the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is facing claims of bias after his ringtone was heard blaring throughout the courtroom during proceedings on Wednesday.
Reports indicate that Judge Bruce Schroeder’s phone went off while Rittenhouse’s lawyer was speaking on behalf of his client. The song set as the ringtone was said to be Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
According to the Washington Examiner, Greenwood, a country music artist, has performed at events for a number of Republican lawmakers, including former President Donald Trump. In fact, Trump has regularly played “God Bless the USA” at rallies — a point liberals made as they accused Schroeder of bias this week.
According to Fox News, the 75-year-old judge, who is the longest-serving active circuit judge in Wisconsin, was appointed as a Kenosha County Circuit Court judge in 1983 by Gov. Anthony Earl, a Democrat.
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In a report Wednesday, the Washington Examiner outlined the basics of the case at hand:
Rittenhouse, 18, is accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring a third during a night of violent clashes in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020. Rittenhouse, who claims he was defending himself, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and two counts of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.
As the trial continued this week, a number of revelations came to light, including from witness Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot in the arm by Rittenhouse but admitted on the stand that the teen only fired his weapon after Grosskreutz pointed his own gun in Rittenhouse’s direction.
It was a development that only served to bolster Rittenhouse’s claims of self defense. The teen also took the stand this week for himself, even breaking down in tears as he described being chased in the moments that led up to the shooting, as Breitbart reported.
Schroeder ended up calling a 10-minute break.
Later, Rittenhouse’s defense team moved for a mistrial after the prosecution was rebuked by the judge for attempting to spin Rittenhouse’s post-arrest silence against him in front of the jury.
“The problem is, this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence, and that is — and you’re right on the borderline, and you may be over it. But it better stop,” Schroeder told the prosecutor, according to Breitbart.
For now, Schroeder has put off ruling on whether to grant the motion for a mistrial.
In either case, many experts reportedly believe that the trial is leaning in Rittenhouse’s favor. Only time will tell if the teenager ends up beating the more than half a dozen charges lodged against him.