Third day of Rittenhouse deliberations quiet inside, tension mounting outside
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- There is still no verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial after the third day of deliberations. The jury deliberated for several more hours Thursday, but did not ask a single question. The jury was never in the courtroom until the very end of the day when they planned out Friday's schedule with the judge.
The question was, can the jury take the jury instructions home? Judge Bruce Schroeder said, "Yes, but you obviously can't talk to anybody about them."
But the defense cautioned it could lead jurors to consider things they shouldn't. Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards said, "I'm afraid it's going to be the old dictionary game, and they start defining words and things like that, the outside research."
But the judge disagreed, saying the jury has respected the rules so far, and that extra time with the rules could be helpful. "Some of the greatest legal minds in the country, I am delighted to say, agree with us: the instructions are very confusing."
The judge also said jurors' notes must stay at the courthouse, adding, "So, no notes. But they may take their instructions. If they have notes on their instructions I'm going to let them take that."
Legal experts say the silence from the jury is not surprising given how the first two days of deliberations played out.
"I thought the first day was interesting, they didn't really delve into the evidence as much. They asked for the jury instructions. And yesterday was kind of an unproductive day because they didn't get the videos until later in the afternoon," said Julius Kim, defense attorney and former prosecutor.
On Tuesday, it took judges and the attorneys some time to figure out how best to get the video evidence to the jury to view. They also went back and forth about how many times, legally, the jury can re-watch videos. Once that was sorted out, jurors were given some videos on a laptop.
They also spent 46 minutes watching drone video in the courtroom.
Legal experts say now it's time to talk about them.
"Today is really in my mind, the first day they're getting into their conversations and the deliberations and I don't think there's any type of deadlock yet, it's still relatively early in this case," said Kim.
And even when these verdicts are reached, it might not matter because there are two motions for mistrial pending.
"There's still this window of opportunity where a verdict could come in, it could be guilty but it hasn't officially been entered into the record yet," Kim said. "It's in that period of time the judge could make his decision in the mistrial."
The first motion for a mistrial with prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse couldn't be re-tried, was made during testimony after Prosecutor Thomas Binger questioned Rittenhouse's pretrial silence and then tried to bring up evidence the judge ruled was inadmissiable.
The second motion for mistrial without prejudice, meaning Rittenhouse could be re-tried, was made after the defense learned they got a lower quality version of a drone video. The state had a higher quality version and used it as evidence during the trial.
In order to make that decision, the judge might hear arguments from the state and the defense.
"The judge alluded to the fact that he wanted to give the state an opportunity to respond to the defense's original mistrial motion," Kim said. "Based upon why they may have gone into some evidence that was previously excluded, and the judge also hinted that he may want some expert testimony or additional testimony from the state regarding the circumstances about transferring this video over to the defense."
Kim says that could draw this case out a day or more after verdicts are reached. He adds he believes the judge would read the verdicts, even if he wasn't ready to enter them into the record.
"He'd have to tell everyone, that's the proper and right thing," Kim said. "I don't think this judge wants to be criticized more, quite frankly. I think he's been big on keeping things open to the public, and it would be very, very unusual for a judge to withhold a verdict from the general public."
But tension is building outside the courtroom: we learned there was a possible security concern regarding the jury Wednesday night. On Thursday, Judge Schroeder announced a man identified as James J. Morrison was pulled over the night before for running a red light; authorities determined he was allegedly following the bus jurors ride to and from a secure location, and suspect he was trying to photograph them.
NBC News sent a statement that says in part, "While the traffic violation took place near the jury van, the freelancer never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations, and never photographed or intended to photograph them. We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation."
Judge Schroeder said MSNBC is no longer allowed in the building. "Someone who is following the jury bus, that is an extremely serious matter, and it will be referred to the proper authorities for further action."
Local affiliates are not involved & are still covering the trial, only MSNBC is barred from the building.