Rittenhouse defense calls for trial to be quashed after iPhone Mail app compressed key video evidence
Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin once again derailed due to basic technological issues: Defense attorneys for Rittenhouse today asked for the trial to be quashed because prosecutors sent them a drone video by email, which compressed the video in size. This is after earlier arguments about what the pinch-to-zoom does and doesn’t do, and the judge grapples with the screenshot features on his Galaxy S20.
Rittenhouse faces five counts of shooting three men and killing two last year during a demonstration in Kenosha. CNN reports that the motion to quash the trial focuses on when and how defense attorneys received a copy of a drone video showing the shots that were shown to the jury in open court.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys say they did not receive a copy of the drone video until November 5, after the trial began, and instead of the state-owned 11.2MB video, the The file they received was only 3.6MB. “What this means is that the video provided to the defense was not as clear as the video kept by the state,” the petition claims. annulment of the trial.
Prosecutors said they only got the video file directly from the drone operator after the trial began – the footage was already public, as it aired on The Tucker Carlson Show on Fox News within days. after filming during an appearance by the accused’s first lawyer, and a lower-quality version of the video was part of the defense exhibits.
Prosecutors said the person who filmed the footage came to investigators after the trial began and transferred a higher-quality version of the video to a detective via AirDrop. The detective presented the video to the court, and within minutes of arriving, the prosecution told defense attorneys that they had obtained a much higher quality version of the video than what was previously available. The detective emailed a copy to Rittenhouse’s lawyer Natalie Wisco, who uses an Android mobile device, and she transferred this file to the defense laptop.
Assistant District Attorney James Kraus told the court that “moving from an iPhone to an Android, it seems, has somehow compressed the file. […] we didn’t know it was going to happen. We gave what we thought was the complete file to Mrs. Wisco […] it entered without objection and was an exhibition for four days, displayed for the jury in full screen. The prosecution said she was unaware that the version she received was substandard until just a few days ago, when Wisco posted the file she received on a laptop from defense in court.
IPhone’s Mail app automatically compresses video files sent as attachments, and defense attorney describes getting a renamed .mov file in a format that looks exactly like a compressed video from the app. Apple Mail from an iPhone user. The defense was finally able to recover the full resolution video file after sending a lawyer to retrieve it on a USB drive.
Wisconsin defense attorney Jessa Nicholson Goetz said The edge that “it is not normal for video or other electronic evidence to be transmitted to defense counsel in the middle of a trial. That is to say very atypical.”
According to Goetz, Wisconsin law states that “any evidence the state intends to use at trial must be disclosed” within a reasonable time before trial “” and that “a mid-trial AirDrop should not in no way meets the requirements “. She also notes that Wisconsin prosecutors and courts routinely process video evidence. “Many police departments need body cameras, and virtually all patrol cars in the state have video that turns on automatically if the vehicle’s hazard warning lights are activated. All of these videos are delivered on a regular basis via a USB stick or CD-ROM / DVD, ”Goetz explains. “I have never encountered a version of video evidence of a different or lower quality than the original video. “
As to why the evidence-handling procedures in this case seem so sloppy, Goetz says The edge that the rules of evidence vary from county to county, with some courts using online portals to transfer files back and forth, some requiring hard copies sent by post, and others requiring prosecutors to allow defense lawyers to physically retrieve any files they need from USB drives.
Rittenhouse’s defense initially requested an annulment of the trial with prejudice, which would have prevented the case from being retried. He removed the “with prejudice” from the request, and so far the judge has not ruled on the request, even as the jury deliberates and watches the video. NBC 5 News reports that Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has said that resolving the issue will require the testimony of an expert witness.