CHICAGO (CBS) — The not guilty verdict for Kyle Rittenhouse came down to the fact that prosecutors simply did not have the evidence to prove that the teenager was not acting in self defense when he shot three people during unrest in Kenosha last year, CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said Friday shortly after the jury’s decision.

“This was their burden to prove that he did not act in self-defense,” Miller said. “It’s a tough battle for prosecutors when you have to negate a negative.”

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Rittenhouse broke down in tears, nearly collapsing as the jury announced they had found him not guilty of all charges. He had faced five counts, including charges of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree intentional homicide, and attempted first-degree attempted homicide.

Miller said the video evidence in this case hurt the prosecution as well. “They were stuck with the evidence. The videos killed the prosecution in this case.  I know they introduced many of them in this case. But those videos don’t lie.

“When you look at the videos, I think it’s a fair conclusion to say, hey, listen, this young man acted in self defense.”

Miller said Rittenhouse helped himself by testifying, but that it didn’t really sway the outcome.

“I don’t think it made a difference if he did, or did not, testify,” Miller said. “I think he helped his case considerably by testifying because the jury got to see him and learn a bit about him.”

“I truly believe on the video alone any jury would have been correct” in returning a not guilty verdict.

Miller said the jury, which deliberated more than 24 hours over four days, should be commended.

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“This jury worked their butts off.”

Miller said he believes the jurors will wish to remain anonymous.

“During jury selection, several of the jurors actually express fear about being on this jury, dealing with neighbors and even relatives having to justify the verdict,” Miller said. “You have two sides, one for Kyle and one against. The didn’t want to get in the middle. It’s certainly understandable that jurors don’t want to be identified.”

There are civil trials against public entities like the city and counties of Kenosha stemming from Rittenhouse’s actions, but Miller doubts Rittenhouse himself would be named as a defendant, especially given the result of today’s criminal trial.

Miller said the next fight will like be over who gets the $2 million bail that freed Rittenhouse from prison after he was charged.  His defense attorneys, for example, will want to be paid for their work in the case.

 

 

 

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff