A juror in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse was dismissed Thursday after a court security officer caught the juror making a joke about the police shooting of Jacob Blake. That shooting led to the protests where Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two and wounding another. The video above shows Judge Bruce Schroeder addressing the juror.
“I was told that while you were being escorted to the car the other day that you began to tell a joke about the shooting of Jacob Blake and I wanted to see, Is that accurate or not,” Schroeder asked the juror. “It’s clear that the appearance of bias is present, and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case, so that in itself would be sufficient cause for discharge.”
Judge Schroeder asked the juror to repeat his joke, but he refused.
“I suppose his unwillingness can be taken in the worst light,” Rittenhouse attorney Corey Chirafisi said. “So based on the unwillingness at this point, I think [dismissal] is probably the proper course.”
After the juror was dismissed, the Rittenhouse trial continued with the chief video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller taking the stand. Richie McGinniss was filming the protests at the time of the shooting and had interviewed Rittenhouse. The video above also shows some of McGinniss’ testimony. He said he watched Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the three people shot, chase Rittenhouse down.
“I think it was very clear to me that he was reaching specifically for the weapon,” McGinniss said. “He said, `F—- you.′ And then he reached for the weapon.”
McGinniss said as Rosenbaum lunged, Rittenhouse, “kind of dodged around” with his weapon, leveled the gun, and fired.
While McGinniss, whom the prosecution had called, was on the stand, prosecutors focused on the term “lunging”. In a media interview days after the shooting, McGinniss had described Rosenbaum as “falling” in the moments before the shooting, not “lunging”.
“He was lunging, falling. I would use those as synonymous terms in this situation because basically, you know, he threw his momentum towards the weapon,” McGinniss said.
Rittenhouse, who is white, could get life in prison if convicted in the politically and racially polarizing case that has stirred furious debate over self-defense, vigilantism, the right to bear arms and the racial unrest that erupted around the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other cases like it.
Bruce Schroeder, Judge, taking to unidentified juror: “I was told that while you were being escorted to the car the other day that you began to tell a joke about the shooting of Jacob Blake and I wanted to see, Is that accurate or not? It is?”
Bruce Schroeder, Judge, talking to Thomas Binger, prosecutor: “It’s clear that the appearance of bias is present, and it would seriously undermine the the outcome of the case, so that in itself would be sufficient cause for discharge. But if you want to expand on, then you’re welcome to.”
Binger: “No, your honor.”
Corey Chirafisi, Kyle Rittenhouse’s attorney, talking to Bruce Schroeder, judge: Chirafisi: “Number seven’s unwilling to repeated what it was. I think we’re at a disadvantage. And I suppose his unwillingness can be taken in the worst light. So based on the unwillingness at this point, I think it’s probably the proper course.”
Schroeder: “OK. All right. I think the best thing under the circumstances, I’m going to dismiss you from the jury, sir. And we do thank you for taking the time to come down here. Thank you.”
Juror: “My feelings is that it was nothing to do with the case. It had nothing to do with Kyle and his seven charges.”
Schroeder: “I have not, I’ve not stated that you have, it’s not, you know, one of the things that I have to do when I have to make judgments. I try to confine my judgments to the things I have to judge and not forming opinions about other people other than that. So I don’t want to get into that. The point I’m making is that the public needs to be confident that this is a fair trial. And I think even at the at the very most. It was a it was bad judgment to tell a joke of that nature. OK, so that’s OK. Thank you very much, sir.”
Richie McGinniss, a video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller: “I think it was very clear to me that he was reaching specifically for the weapon and, um, because that’s where his hands went.”
“He was he was lunging, falling. I would use those as synonymous terms in this situation because basically, you know, he threw his momentum towards the weapon. And when the weapon wasn’t there, his momentum was continuing. And that’s the point at which he fired.”
Thomas Binger, prosecutor, questioning Richie McGinniss, a video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller: “Where was the barrel of the weapon pointed?
McGinniss: “At at this moment, when he stopped, it was aimed about 45 degrees at the ground.”
Binger: “Did the aim of the barrel of the weapon change?”
McGinniss: “It did. And when Mr. Rosenbaum lunged, Mr. Rittenhouse kind of dodged around. And then that’s when it was levelled at Mr. Rosenbaum and fired.”
Binger: “Did you ever see a weapon on Mr. Rosenbaum?”
McGinnis: “I did not.”
Binger: “Never saw a gun on Mr. Rosenbaum?”
McGinniss: “I did not.”
Binger: “Never saw him have a knife?”
Binger: “Never saw him have a club or a bat or a chain or anything like that?”
McGinniss: “I just saw that the bag that was thrown, that was it.”
Binger: “So your interpretation of what he was trying to do or what he was intending to do or anything along those lines is complete guesswork? Isn’t it?”
McGinniss: “Well, he said, ‘f*** you’. And then he reached for the weapon.”
Mark Richards, defense attorney, questioning Richie McGinniss, a video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller: “Were you fearful of Mr. Balch and Mr. Rittenhouse?
McGinniss: “At the time that I was walking with them?”
McGinniss: “I was fearful of the potentiality that, you know, those weapons would be used. So I would say, look, I was elevated in terms of my assessment of the risk involved in the situation. But I wouldn’t say that I was specifically fearful of them individually. I was fearful of what might happen.”
Richards: “You’re fearful of the situation in Kenosha on August 25th, 2020. All the people, the rioting, the chaos and the social unrest.”
McGinniss: “And the guns,”
Richards: “And the guns.”