“I know there’s no double jeopardy in this country, Paul, but is it possible for this case to go federal? Could a federal prosecutor pick this up?” anchor Katy Tur asked shortly after the verdicts.
“It’s possible,” former federal prosecutor Paul Butler said. “But typically we see those in civil rights cases, and this isn’t a civil rights case. The truth is this is a tough case for prosecutors because some of the state’s own witnesses testified in favor, or their testimony advanced the government’s case. One witness testified that the first person who Rittenhouse shot, a man named Rosenbaum, tried to grab Rittenhouse’s gun. Another witness said that Mr. Rittenhouse shot a second person who was attacking him with a skateboard, and a third person who Mr. Rittenhouse shot was pointing a gun at him. So I think this will be a difficult case whether the prosecution is state or federal.”
Rittenhouse claimed self-defense after he shot three people, killing two, during unrest last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, He was found not guilty on all charges, including first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.
The wrenching case captured national attention and was the subject of fierce debate, with many progressives fuming Friday over the verdict. President Biden declared he was “angry” about the verdict, and a number of Democrats and left-leaning celebrities and media figures called it a miscarriage of justice and proof of racist double standards.
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton called the trial a setback on left-wing anchor Nicolle Wallace’s “Deadline: White House” program, contrasting it against the conviction of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
Rittenhouse reacted emotionally to the acquittal on Friday, completely breaking down after the final verdict was read.
Many left-leaning media figures referred to Rittenhouse as a murderer before and during the trial, and some politicians, including Biden through social media during his presidential campaign, called him a White supremacist.
Kyle Rittenhouse family spokesman David Hancock told Fox News on Friday that critics “didn’t want to hear the facts” in the case.
“I’m beyond proud of Kyle for the way he’s handled this past year and I’m so very relieved he can live his life as an innocent man,” he said.