Teenager Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges after pleading in self-defense for the murder of two people shot dead during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Violent televised clashes between the prosecution and defense lawyers continued until the very end of this much anticipated and widely watched murder trial.
Lasting just two weeks, Mr Rittenhouse’s trial provided observers with many remarkable moments as US justice unfolded live on cable news.
Jurors listened, awaiting a verdict on whether Mr Rittenhouse was a responsible teenager trying to protect a community from a violent mob and acting in self-defense or if he was aggressive, reckless and inexperienced teenager looking for trouble.
There were numerous courtroom shows from both sides – some offered to shed light on their judgment while others came as random moments from the courtroom theater.
At the start of the trial, Mr. Rittenhouse himself took a stand in his own defense.
For several hours, he answered questions from lawyers and repeatedly collapsed with uncontrollable tears.
This moment gave US cable news channels the opportunity to debate with behavioral experts on whether or not he was “pretending”.
In another key show, Senior District Attorney Thomas Binger brandished the same assault rifle Mr Rittenhouse used to kill two people and injure another.
The prosecutor pointed the gun around the courtroom in an attempt to duplicate the actions of the accused. Conservative media commentators, like Hannity on Fox News, lambasted him for irresponsibly wielding a gun.
The judge also provided observers with his own dramatic moments.
Bruce Schroeder, 75, the longest-serving state trial judge in Wisconsin, has clashed numerous times with prosecutors, shouting at one point, “Don’t be cheeky with me.
Mr Schroeder ruled at the start of the trial that the three people shot by the accused should not be called “victims” because it was a loaded term.
At one point in the proceedings, the judge’s phone rang, revealing that his ringtone was the patriotic American song “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood.
The song also happens to be the theme song used at Donald Trump’s political rallies, which has led some liberal media to speculate on the judge’s political leanings.
At another point, Mr Schroeder said “This is not a political trial” after the prosecution asked a witness, who had provided video evidence, if his video site was motivated by considerations. policies.
In another widely analyzed moment, the judge made a joke about Asian food and the crisis in the supply chain.
“Hopefully it’s 1pm. I don’t know. I hope the Asian food doesn’t come … isn’t on one of those boats in Long Beach harbor,” Mr. Schroeder said. .
There was a heated debate over an image the prosecution wanted to use to prove that the accused had pointed his gun at protesters.
The image had been magnified by a state investigator, but the defense argued that its magnification made it untrustworthy.
A forensic imaging specialist who was called to testify admitted that enlarging an image requires the addition of pixels.
Still, prosecutors said the method is a widely accepted method of image magnification.
Summarizing the evidence, the prosecutor told jurors to “seek the truth … so many people are watching this case and see what they want to see.”
Rittenhouse’s defense team applied the same argument but to substantiate their client’s claim of innocence and in doing so illustrated a common thread in the trial – the same moments, even with the support of video evidence, can be interpreted in totally different ways.
“This case is not a game,” Rittenhouse defense attorney told jurors. “Use your common sense and good judgment.”
At the very end of the procedure, it is Rittenhouse himself who chooses the jurors who will decide his fate.
In order to select 12 of the 18 jurors who listened to the trial, the defendant reached into the brown lottery cup and, one at a time, pulled out 12 pieces of paper, each with a juror number.
He carefully placed them on the defense table in front of him and an official picked them up to show them to prosecutors.