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Cuomo Prime Time

Jury Finds Kyle Rittenhouse Not Guilty On All Charges; Anthony Huber's Family Reacts To Verdict; Cornell William Brooks On Kyle Rittenhouse's Verdict. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 19, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

The jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin spoke. The case is over. The story is not. And let's be clear. There's plenty to be upset about. It is too easy to kill in this society. And our laws make it so.

And yet, there are too many tonight, offering a jaundiced view, of this case. So, let's take a clear-eyed look, at the realities of the law, and the facts in this case. And you will see why this happened, and you will see where your problems are. And there are no questions here tonight that this outcome is problematic. It is.

Right now, there are no protests. That's a good thing. Protesting is a right, of course. But it's probably for the best that this situation isn't generating outrage on the streets. I don't know how that would help.

These calls that I'm hearing, and you're hearing that "This jury should have found some way to punish this guy," they're troubling, because they ignore the laws at play.

The President says he stands by the jury, and its conclusion. But many of his supporters are saying "This is an injustice," because too many other kids get in trouble for way less. Are we about the law? Are we about revenge?

Saying he was not allowed to have the gun, it's not true. Read the Wisconsin law. You could not like the law. But he was within the rights that the State affords. You can criticize the law. You should. He didn't violate it.

It's a more relevant question to ask. And I know you're not going to like this. But if you want to talk about the law, have you heard anybody ask why, the third person he shot, the man with the gun, who was chasing him, and pointed it at him, and came at him, why he escaped all police scrutiny? None of the people, who were angry, about this verdict, see anything curious about that situation. Justice is blind, right? So, it should be blind to politics as well, right?

Again, I'm not happy. There's nothing to be happy about here. Today's verdict of "Not guilty" doesn't mean the actions on August 25 were innocent. They weren't innocent, by all indications.

Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, they're dead. Their lives cut short, their families ruined. Dying because you went to protest to police shooting, it's not what this country is about.

It's also not what happened. It wasn't protesting that got them killed. It was chasing after a guy with a loaded weapon. And it is the laws of Wisconsin that allowed that 17-year-old, to carry a weapon that night. And it is the law, of Wisconsin, that creates a ridiculously low bar, to defend yourself, with deadly force.

Gaige Grosskreutz, his right arm is wrecked. But again, he had a gun that he drew, and went at Rittenhouse. It's a different situation.

The person, who did the killing, Kyle Rittenhouse, when he heard this verdict, he reacted like the teenager he is.


JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The defendant will rise, face the jury, and hearken to its verdicts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of Wisconsin versus Kyle Rittenhouse.

As to the first count of the information, Joseph Rosenbaum, we, the jury, find the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not guilty.

As to the second count of the information, Richard McGinniss, we, the jury, find the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not guilty.

As to the third count of the information, unknown male, we, the jury, find the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not guilty.

As to the fourth count of the information, Anthony Huber, we, the jury, find the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not guilty.

As to the fifth count of the information, Gaige Grosskreutz, we, the jury, find the defendant, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, not guilty.

SCHROEDER: Members of the jury, are these your unanimous verdicts?


SCHROEDER: Is there anyone who does not agree with the verdicts as read?


SCHROEDER: Would you wish the jury polled? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure (ph).


OK folks. Your job is done.



CUOMO: I really think it's a time for people to do a check of head and heart. Two things can be true at once.

Again, the law, as drafted, in Wisconsin, is a huge factor in this ruling. That law gave the shooter, a right to do, what he did. But it can also be true that Kyle Rittenhouse didn't do the right thing, legally justified, but still wrong.

Might this encourage vigilantes, this verdict? Sure. But know this. If you're one of them, you're making a mistake. If you think you can go to a situation, looking for trouble, you better not start any, or even this recklessly-forgiving law in Wisconsin will not save you.

Now, be clear. If you step away from justice, for a second, of course, none of it feels right, because it was all wrong.

By all indications, it was gross judgment that took this guy, to Kenosha, the decision to take an AR-15, to a situation like this, to hang with a bunch of White would-be protectors, to be ignored by the police, to engage with angry protesters, and to see deadly force, with that weapon, as his only way, to deal with pursuers. They are all bad choices.

But it is only the last, what he did, when chased, that mattered. All those, who's saying, "What about the lesser charges? What about all those pages of charges?" the charges are secondary to the primary analysis, of whether he was justified in using self-defense.

If the jury found him to be justified, the charges are irrelevant, because all criminality, for the killing, was removed by the justification of self-defense. So, it wasn't "OK, self-defense, but you're guilty of that." No!

Either they believe he had to do this or they don't. Only after they say "No self-defense," then you get into the charges. So, all that talk is meaningless. "Oh, they could have dot, dot, dot, this charge." No!

If you are justified, in using deadly force, in self-defense, you are guilty of none of the homicide charges. Not in this case. That is the correct verdict, once they decided he was justified, under this law.

The jury found he was justified, mainly because they believed two things. One, he did not provoke this specific altercation, with the men, who were pursuing him. And he had a reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death. This prosecution did not prove the defendant provoked this specific situation, with these three men. It didn't. And therefore, under this law, Rittenhouse had no duty to retreat, which is huge. When you take that out, of self-defense, you are creating an incredibly low bar, and making it way too easy to kill.

No duty to retreat. And by the way, to be fair to the facts here, he did retreat. He was running away, OK? He had no duty to exhaust all non-lethal needs, no duty to fight them off, to kick, to try anything else. He had no duty, under the law, to do that.

If the jury thought it was reasonable for him, another aspect of the law that you haven't been told enough about, it's not what they would do. It's not what the reasonable person would do. This law requires them to think, was it reasonable, for the defendant, an over-whelmed 17-year-old? And that's how he obviously came off, on the stand.

This law is a shooter's dream. The jury can't ask what a reasonable person would do, or what, they would do? You have to be in his shoes.

Even if they think he's a chump, if it was reasonable, for him, to think they were about to really hurt him, or try to kill him, the law justifies it. And that kid on that stand, painted the right picture for that jury.

The law also says that the prosecutor has to disprove the defendant's need for self-defense, beyond a reasonable doubt. That's a higher burden. It's the highest we have, and much higher than other State statutes. This law saved Rittenhouse as much, or more, as his weapon did.


The jury is not the bad guy. Race is not the bad guy. Politics is not the bad guy. This statute is. And there are many, like it, a growing number actually, it's right, akin, to stand your ground. It's absolutely too easy to kill.

And yes, it came too easily to Kyle Rittenhouse. He put himself in a bad situation, for bad reason, with bad people. And he made bad choices. And he killed people and hurt people. He's no hero.

But beware the politics here. Depending on what team you're on, these days, he's either a vigilante killer, or is Captain America. Which is he? Who cares? It's not the right question.

The law isn't about his character, or his politics or his animus. Not in this case. It's about his actions, and his intentions, and what the facts justified, or not, under the law. You want a different outcome? And you might. Change the standard.

Tonight, we have the person, who made the most important and risky call, in this trial, second to the law at play. The second biggest factor was Rittenhouse taking the stand, in his own defense. Counselor Mark Richards, attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, helped make that call.

Counselor, appreciate you taking the opportunity.


CUOMO: How difficult a call was it?

RICHARDS: We, myself and Corey Chirafisi, went round, and around, with it. We felt as though we had a witness, a client, who could tell his story.

He was articulate, fairly intelligent. He didn't have any damage. He didn't have prior convictions, or never been in trouble. He was a police cadet, fire cadet, pro-social. We thought he could do it. There was obviously a lot of work that went into it.

We did a mock jury. And the mock jury, where, the 12 people, denied to hear Kyle's story. He scored much worse than the people who did hear his story. And that was subject to cross-examination by a trained ex- prosecutor. And that made the decision, I don't want to say, easy, but it made it the right call.

And, in Wisconsin, when you have to put yourself in the feet, or the shoes, of that person, he needs to tell his story. And we felt strongly about that from the beginning.

From the first time, I met Kyle Rittenhouse, when he was, in custody, in the McHenry County detention center, I talked to him about that. And he was willing to do that, and wanted to.

CUOMO: Does he wish he hadn't gone that night? Does he think he did anything wrong?

RICHARDS: A 100 - 100 times over. I've had talks. Kyle said, "If I had to do it all over again, and had any idea something like this could happen, I wouldn't do it," you know? And that is not - I want to be clear. That is not regret, for what he did that night, under those circumstances.

Hindsight is always 20/20, if not better. And he didn't want to kill anybody. And he was left with a terrible choice. And he exercised that choice, which was found to be lawful.

CUOMO: Does he think he did anything wrong?

RICHARDS: Legally? No.

CUOMO: Morally?

RICHARDS: He wishes he didn't have to do it. But you know? And, this case, as you said, has been so political, so, yes or no.

The narrative that came out was not the truth. At trial, it did come out. He had lived in that community. He had worked in that community. His family, his dad, his grandmother, aunts, uncles, lived in that community. He spent a lot of time there.

He went down there, earlier in the day, to help clean up graffiti, do those things. And when he was asked, to help out, at Car Source, he went.

And so much was made that he wasn't an EMT. He did help people there. Nobody was harmed by Kyle Rittenhouse, putting bandages, or gauze on, and he went around seeking to help people.

They wanted to portray him as a liar, and a fireman-wannabe. I don't think that's what it was. But that was the narrative they needed to put forth, to try and get a conviction, on Kyle Rittenhouse.

CUOMO: Does he have concerns that maybe he could have done something else? Maybe he didn't have to fire? Maybe he could have fought? Maybe he could have gotten back on his feet?

RICHARDS: You know?

CUOMO: Does he ask himself those questions?

RICHARDS: I don't - as to Mr. Rosenbaum, and that was really the count that I think set up this whole case.


I told the story earlier. And it's 100 percent true. The first time I met Kyle, I asked him about Rosenbaum (ph). I hadn't seen that video. And I asked him how big Rosenbaum was. And he said to me, he goes, "He was over six feet and 250 pounds." Obviously that was wrong.


RICHARDS: That was his perception, as this individual, who was throwing this bag, who he had seen earlier in the evening, was coming at him.

And, he, one, as I said, he had no duty to retreat. But two, Mr. Rosenbaum could have stopped at any time, and none of this would have stopped - would have happened.

His judgment, in running after a person, as he yelled on the tape, and it was clearly visible, "You aren't going to do S MFer," and he believed Kyle didn't have the guts to do it. He was wrong, and he paid with his life.

CUOMO: Well, I don't know that it's guts. I think it's--


CUOMO: I think it's bad judgment. It was justified under the law. But I think it's hard. And that's why I asked the question, it's hard to believe that somebody chasing you is going to beat you to death.

RICHARDS: Why else was he chasing him, Chris?

CUOMO: Probably to get him, and beat him up, hurt him.

But again, my problem is with the law here.


CUOMO: Look, we don't know what he was going to do. All we know - now we do, because now we know that none of the people involved here ever killed anybody, before, or known for that kind of violence. But he didn't know that in the moment.

This law, does it concern you, how low a bar, this law presents, for now some 10 years that there's no duty to retreat, that you put yourself, in his shoes, not the reasonable person shoes, that the prosecutor has to prove self-defense wasn't necessary, by a reasonable doubt, unlike so many other State statutes?


CUOMO: You worried about this being too low a bar?

RICHARDS: I don't think - I don't think anybody, with a brain, is going to go out and say, "I'm going to go kill somebody, and see if I can get away with it, in self-defense."

I've done a lot of self-defenses cases, in Wisconsin, over the years, where it was claimed, and hasn't been successful.

And Kyle Rittenhouse is thankful that this was on videotape, because it showed this individual's true intent, throughout the evening.

CUOMO: It's true.

RICHARDS: And if it was his word, against the mob, he would have came in second.

CUOMO: You know what? That's a strong point. In fact, it provokes a whole line of questioning now that we're going to have to answer as a society.

Will you do me a favor? Can I hold you over the break, and ask you some more questions about this?


CUOMO: Counselor, thank you very much.

Look, it's a big night for this country. We got to understand what this case was about, and what it wasn't about, because there's plenty of reason to be upset. And we're just getting into it now, about why this happened.

We'll be right back.








CUOMO: All right, we're back with Mark Richards, attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse.

And again, Counselor, this is an important conversation. I appreciate you having it with us. So, thank you for taking the time.

One step sideways, you said this was the longest wait, you've ever had, for a jury. What was that time, meaning to you, emotionally and intellectually, while you were waiting?

RICHARDS: I don't know about intellectually. It was - we didn't expect an overly quick verdict. We had talked amongst ourselves. And I had picked two full days around dinnertime. So obviously, I was wrong. Nobody had it going this long.

And the longer it went, the - I think, more afraid we became, of some sort of compromise, potentially. Walking into that courtroom, pins and needles doesn't begin to explain it.

I told my client, "If it goes south, you're not walking out of this courtroom, a free man, and you won't see the light of day, for a long time. If we win it all, you get to come home with us." And luckily, I think, after a lot of hard work, it went that way.

I think the jury spent a lot of time. I think, part of the time, they put in, was to show how thorough they were. I think the other part of it was I think some people probably wanted to hold him accountable, for something. But, under the facts and the law, it wasn't there.

I know that a lot of people went crazy, when the gun count was dismissed. We fought that from the beginning, from the first appearance. We got--

CUOMO: The law is pretty clear. I mean, you can argue why Tommy Thompson modified it that way, and all the different - he was governor, at that time, back in the 90s. But the law is the law. I don't know why the judge left it in that long. It's in the plain reading of the statute.

Let me ask you something else here, because of the larger implications of this. And please, don't take this question, the wrong way, and let me know if you're taking it the wrong way.


CUOMO: Word that you guys had a film crew embedded with you, from Fox News, from Tucker Carlson, I want to know why--

RICHARDS: I hadn't--

CUOMO: --why that decision was made.

RICHARDS: I did not approve of that. I've threw them out of the room several times.

They were - and I'm not suggesting that Fox or some other network. I don't think a film crew is appropriate, for something like this. But the people, who were raising the money, to pay for the experts, and to pay for the attorneys, were trying to raise money, and that was part of it.


So, I think, I don't want to say, an evil, but a definite distraction was part of it. And I didn't approve it. But I'm not always the boss.

CUOMO: Who were the people who were paying?

RICHARDS: The people, who were raising money. It was - this defense was crowd-funded, through donations.

CUOMO: Right. But who were the people making the calls about, who got to have access, to the process?

RICHARDS: Kyle's family, and his adviser.

CUOMO: Were you worried that your client was becoming an agent of animus?

I mean, Fox News is one thing. I used to work there. Tucker Carlson is a different animal. You know, what he means in the political dialog.

Were you worried that Rittenhouse was going to become kind of a stooge of that fringe of our political spectrum?

RICHARDS: I had a talk with Kyle. All I can say is what I say. And Kyle is going to have some hard choices, in his life, about the direction he goes, and what he stands for. Those will have to be made by Kyle, eventually.

And as Corey, and I, told him yesterday, while we're waiting alone, for the verdict, he needs to learn how to take responsibility, and to tell people, "No."

CUOMO: You had - but did you have worries about it, during the time, because of who it was, and what that would mean, when word got out?

RICHARDS: Well, I had more worries about some of the other things that happened much earlier in this case.

The Lin Woods, the John Pierces, who were basically, I think, were trying to whore this kid out, for money, for their own causes, they kept him in Illinois, to fight an extradition that was unwinnable, and because they were raising tons of money on him. Lin Wood and I went head-to-head. And he'll probably sue me for it. But he's an idiot, who let him talk, to "The Washington Post," while he was under charges, for murder. I mean, come on!

CUOMO: So, how do you want to be remembered, in all this?

Because it's going to be politicized, Rittenhouse is going to be politicized. People are going to be upset that a White kid with a gun was congratulated by the police, and offered water, when he should have been shooed off the street, at a minimum that he was able to kill two people and get away with it.

How do you want to be remembered in this, in terms of what you stand for?

RICHARDS: I'm a criminal defense lawyer. I fought for my client. I got what I believe is true and just result.

And I don't care if people remember me. I'm going to go on about my life. I'll go back, to my office, to my family. And the next case will come along, and I'll fight that one.

CUOMO: One last--

RICHARDS: I'm not a cause lawyer.

CUOMO: You're not a what?

RICHARDS: Cause lawyer.

CUOMO: Cause lawyer.

RICHARDS: I represent clients.

CUOMO: These laws, there's been an evolution, or a devolution, I would call it.

No duty to retreat, making it easier and easier, for somebody to pull the trigger, in their own defense, serious bodily injury, having the prosecutor have to prove it, beyond a reasonable doubt that self- defense wasn't necessary, Stand-Your-Ground laws, are you worried that we're making it too easy to kill in self-defense?

RICHARDS: To me, and I know - people will go nuts, when I say this, but there's too many guns in our society. And that might seem like a hollow statement, coming from me. I do own firearms. I don't concealed carry. I don't want to carry a firearm.

I think too many people run around with guns in our society. And I represent a lot of people, who have legal concealed carry permits, who get into it. They pull the gun, and there's problems, from there, whether they're, under the influence of alcohol, or they use it to threaten somebody.

I wish our society - I wish our society wasn't perceived as being so dangerous, that people needed to harm themselves. I'm old enough, when I remember you couldn't carry a gun.

CUOMO: And when you settled a dispute, with your hands, and not a weapon.

RICHARDS: Fistfights.

CUOMO: If at all.


CUOMO: Mark Richards, this is going to be remembered for a long time. And Counselor, I appreciate you discussing the issues with us tonight, here. Appreciate it.

RICHARDS: Have a good night.

CUOMO: All right, you too.


CUOMO: It's a big verdict. It's going to get hit hard for the people, who had to watch it, knowing that their loved ones are never coming home. People are dead.

Anthony Huber's family says they're heartbroken and angry. They say it's a lack of justice. It's a lack of accountability.

Huber's great aunt was in court today. Watched that verdict, lived a very different reality.

We'll hear from her, next.









CUOMO: Kyle Rittenhouse is a free man. The fact remains, he killed two men, and he badly injured a third. One of those he killed, 26-year-old Anthony Huber. According to Rittenhouse, Huber hit him, with his skateboard, and tried to grab his rifle.

His great aunt, who testified for the prosecution, was in court today, when the verdict was delivered. Her name is Susan Hughes, and she joins us now. Susan, I'm very sorry for your loss. And I appreciate you taking this opportunity.


CUOMO: My condolences to the family. What did the verdict mean to you?

HUGHES: Well, I would like to say, it's closure. It's not really. But it's another milestone in the path, to eventually being able to deal with Anthony's death, and for that matter, for Kariann, to deal with Joseph, and Gaige, to get on with his life.

I'm not naive. I think we will continue to be contacted by media, every time some circumstance comes up, regarding this.


But we haven't had - it's been 15 months of solid, every day, I've seen that video. Not intentionally. But I open my phone. It's running on some crawl, on a newsfeed, or whatever.

We need to get past that. Change your news cycle. We need to get on with the grieving process.

CUOMO: I hope you do. I hope you guys can make space for that.

What are you going to tell yourself about why this happened?

HUGHES: About what part of it?

CUOMO: Anthony?

HUGHES: I mean, about Anthony's participation or?

CUOMO: Anthony's death, the circumstances surrounding it. You have to get your hands around why your nephew died.

HUGHES: Yes. Well, I'm firmly in the camp that he perceived an active shooter, and he went to disarm that person. That is the Anthony, I knew. He was very much a person, who would jump into action.

And, there were a couple other people who did the same thing. Nobody was successful. He lost his life.

I was asked the other day, by one of the media people, if I thought Anthony would do the same thing, again? And I think he would, you know? If - even knowing he lost his life, because he was - he already knew that Joseph had been shot. He wanted to prevent further shooting.

CUOMO: What does it mean to you that this law in Wisconsin justifies what happened that night?

HUGHES: Yes, there's so many things wrong with that. People have a right to self-defense. Anthony had a right to his life, as well, with a different reading of that event. Yes, I don't really know how to respond to that.

It's - there's so many - so many laws were brought up that were inconsistent with our - the world that we live in today, making decisions about evidence, based on videotape cases that they're citing. Nobody uses videotape anymore. It's a digital world. We need to catch up quickly.

CUOMO: Susan Hughes, I really hope that time is a friend to the family, and you guys are able to process, and grieve, and make sense of this, and that you lean on each other, and get through it.

I'm sorry to meet you under these circumstances. And I'm sorry that I got to say that so often, to so many families. I wish you well. And God bless the family. I'm sorry for your loss.

HUGHES: Thank you.

CUOMO: So, why did this happen? Is it about getting the case wrong? Did the jury get it wrong? I don't think so. Did the prosecutors get it wrong? Maybe. Were they too ambitious?

No one knows the pressure, of a case like this, better than Marilyn Mosby, and Mark O'Mara. What do they think about why it came out this way? Next.









CUOMO: Supposed to be about the facts of the law, and the policies that a community wants. But this situation with Kyle Rittenhouse is going to be about more than that.

And we just learned about it, in real-time, together. His lawyer making it clear that yes, Fox News, Tucker Carlson, got to be embedded with them, during the process. His lawyer didn't want that. No lawyer would, by the way. A record being created of your process, it ruins the privilege that you have with your client.

But the guys, pushing for the money, to pay, for the defense, wanted Tucker Carlson and Fox News there. What does that tell you about this situation?

Marilyn Mosby, and Mark O'Mara, come in right now. They both understand the conflation, the combining of politics and law, for better, and often for worse.

Mark O'Mara, you had a client that was an early iteration, of the Right, trying to grasp on, to somebody, as a righteous defender, of not being bullied, by the Black mob.

And now we hear this story. What did you think, when you heard that lawyer confirm, who it was that wanted Tucker Carlson, to get full access, to their process?


We had a number of different people willing to pay, willing to do whatever, to try and come in, and do exactly that, which Chris, you hit it on the head, not only is it disgusting, and violates the privilege, but I'm more worried - didn't seem to happen, in this case.

I'm more worried about the potential influence that comes along, with that type of access, telling you to do it this way, or maybe you'll get money, if you do it this way, or maybe, for this $100,000, you should argue this point.

It is a bastardization of the entire criminal justice process, when you drag somebody into the one inviolate privilege that we have with our clients. I just find it very troubling.

CUOMO: I mean, you got the guy on, Mosby, every night, you got the guy on, saying, "It was clearly self-defense. It was clearly self-defense. And the Left hates this. And the media hates that. And they were, you know, the justice system is bogus. This is all," and he's embedded with the guy, at the same time?

And the guys, paying for the defense, are working with the guy, who was on TV every night, saying that it's self-defense? I mean, even if the guy is a joke, even if he's not a news person, he's on TV. At the end of the day, we're kind of all equal in that regard.

What does it mean to you?


MARILYN MOSBY, MARYLAND STATE'S ATTORNEY, BALTIMORE CITY: I mean, what I can tell you, Chris, is that this verdict is really not surprising.

I mean, at the end of the day, when we look at it, from a legal perspective, we have this young White boy, who went on the stand, in a disingenuous emotional state. They did this.

It was an effective defense strategy, right, to ensure that these folks, seven White women, four White men, one Hispanic man, that would innately sympathize with this young White boy, who was according to the defense, left with no other choice, but to defend himself, from the scary "Black Lives Matter" rioters and looters, attempting to attack him. I think the greater sort of question, and just from a prosecutorial perspective, Chris, what was surprising to me was, the prosecutors' approach, and not just villainizing, but criminalizing, the first victim, in this case.

I don't think it was effective, for the prosecutor, to tell the jurors that this victim, tipped over an empty Porta Potti, swung a chain, lit a metal garbage dumpster, on fire, and used the N-word, and most disturbingly, that it was the victim, if the victim were alive today that he'd be prosecuted for arson.

And so, while I can appreciate, the prosecutor, was attempting to emphasize that vigilante sort of execution is unacceptable, what I think, he inadvertently did, was to provide validity, to Kyle Rittenhouse's self-defense claim, which in my opinion, undermine the entirety, of the prosecution's case, which rested upon the fact that Kyle Rittenhouse was a provocateur, and was not entitled to self- defense.

So, by villainizing, and criminalizing the dead victim, the jury was able to disassociate the criminal acts, of the victim, who wasn't able to be present, and sympathized with the killer, expressing remorse, in their presence.

CUOMO: You make a strong point.

The only thing I would come back to you on is the statute's a lot more forgiving than you're giving it credit for. The jury didn't have to find that this was the only thing he could do.

MOSBY: Right.

CUOMO: They just had to find that it was reasonable, for him, under the circumstances.

MOSBY: Objectively.

CUOMO: And the prosecution had to prove it wasn't reasonable, beyond a reasonable doubt, which is our highest standard, and much higher than most States. So, no duty to retreat, it had to be reasonable for him, not you, like he's a dope.

MOSBY: Right.

CUOMO: But you got to think like a dope. And - if that's what they thought of him? And the prosecution has this incredibly high burden.

Race? Sure. You can make that point. But they didn't need it with this law.


CUOMO: Did they, Mosby?

MOSBY: So, I mean, let's not - let's be very clear, Chris. The reason this is not surprising, is because Kyle Rittenhouse is a young White boy, who has never, in his life, been perceived as a threat, even after he shot three people, with an AR-15 rifle. Just based off of his color--

CUOMO: You think if he was Black, they would have convicted him?

MOSBY: Let me tell you, just based off of his color, he's given the presumption of innocence that isn't always extended to the people of color, and he's able to hide behind the Second Amendment, and assert self-defense, because he has the privilege of whiteness.

Please understand that if Kyle Rittenhouse was Black, today's outcome would have been different.

But because societal views of a young White boy, in fear of his life, from the hostile "Black Lives Matter" rioters and looters, it's easy for seven White women, four White men, one Hispanic man, to sympathize with this young White boy, who was left with no other choice, according to the defense, but to kill two people, and injure a third, with an AR-15 rifle.

CUOMO: Mark, last word?

MOSBY: Black people go to prison, and end up dead, on a regular basis, for the things that White people, in this country, do with impunity.

CUOMO: Mark, last word to you.

O'MARA: Criminal justice system--

CUOMO: And just to remind people, he shot two White guys. It was White guys, who, was chasing him, obviously.

O'MARA: Yes.

CUOMO: Just to keep the facts straight. Go ahead.

O'MARA: Yes, I mean, the criminal justice system is racially-biased. No one denies that. It didn't show up in this trial, as much, except for what she just said, which is there is this White privilege presumption that also infects, or it's injected into the system.

But having said that, this is really, Chris, as you started, this is a self-defense statute that allows for actions like this to occur.

And his previous lawyer, or his recent lawyer, just said the same thing. There may be too many guns on the street. And if the gun is the first response, then it's wrong. And it seemed with both of the shooting events, with Rittenhouse, it was the first response, to use an AR-15. And we have to get away from that.

CUOMO: Both, of you, thank you very much. Hard truths, but they need to be said.

Marilyn Mosby, Mark O'Mara, thank you.

MOSBY: Thank you. CUOMO: Now look, you got to keep the facts straight. But there are bigger significances here, to talk about also.

Imagine what would have happened, if Kyle Rittenhouse had shot Black men, instead of White men, and then you get this verdict, what would be happening in the streets tonight?


How do we get to a better place? How much of it is law? How much of it is culture? What's the way forward?

Cornell William Brooks, with a take on the culture war. You had Tucker Carlson's team embedded with this guy's defense, at the behest of the men, paying for it. What does that tell you about where we are? Next?








CUOMO: Professor Cornell William Brooks joins us now.

My thread is half, "If this was a Black kid, he would have been convicted. If this was a Black kid, he would have been shot and killed by the cops that night."

The other half of the thread is, "There you go, Lefty mob. The law wins. You don't get what you want, just because you don't like that a White guy, went there, to defend property, and got attacked, by these BLM crazies. Too bad."

What is our reason to believe that we can get to a better place?


CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PROFESSOR & DIRECTOR OF THE TROTTER COLLABORATIVE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, FORMER NAACP PRESIDENT AND CEO: Our reason to believe that we can get to a better place has everything to do with our resolve and determination.

But let's be clear here. The Left, or those who appreciate, the racial reality? Had a Black kid committed the same crimes that Kyle Rittenhouse did, he would in fact be dead. He would not have been given a presumption of innocence.

How do we know that? Look at the statistics, in terms of police homicide. In other words, how many Black kids get offered water, or ushered in, into a racial battleground, with a AK-47?

The statistics make very clear that Kyle Rittenhouse was treated very differently, simply because of the color of his skin, as well as I should say, in contrast to the mere facts of the case.

There's not a presumption of innocence. Think about Trayvon Martin. Think about the numerous Black people, young Black people, who had literally been detained, arrested, held up. Think about Ahmaud Arbery. No, this is a - this is very clear instance of--

CUOMO: Well I think Ahmaud Arbery is going to--


CUOMO: I think Ahmaud Arbery is going to be a different outcome. You got different law.


CUOMO: You got different prosecution team. You got different facts.

My question is this. Can two things be true, in this instance, at once? You are correct about what you're saying about the general dynamics of injustice, systemic injustice, but that this was also the right verdict, under the law that applies here, and the facts, as we understood them in the trial.

WILLIAM BROOKS: It is an unsurprising verdict, given the law, given the facts in the trial, given the judge, given the racially-coded jury, given all of those things, and given the assumption, that Kyle Rittenhouse is innocent, until proven guilty, as opposed to Black people, and the fact that Kyle Rittenhouse got to stay in trial, namely, if he were Black, he might have been killed on the spot.

So yes, given those things, the outcome is not surprising.

CUOMO: Professor, we got to keep talking. We got to expose the problems. We got to expose the progress. And we got to ask for more of the latter and less of the former.

Thank you very much for being with us. And I'll be talking to you again. God bless.

WILLIAM BROOKS: Look forward to it.

CUOMO: All right.

We'll be right back with the handoff.


CUOMO: What does it mean, when somebody's defense is bankrolled by righty-fringe political zealots, and they allow a righty-fringe political zealot, to embed, to document the process, while they go on TV, every night, advocating for the defendant?

Listen to what the lawyer told us, for Kyle Rittenhouse, about the reality, of what was done, in this case.


RICHARDS: The people, who were raising money. It was - this defense was crowd-funded, through donations.

CUOMO: Right. But who were the people making the calls about, who got to have access, to the process?

RICHARDS: Kyle's family, and his adviser.

The Lin Woods, the John Pierces, who were basically, I think, were trying to whore this kid out, for money, for their own causes.


CUOMO: Did Fox pay for that access? Did the money guys have a deal with them? This is a problem.

That's it for us tonight. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now, with its big star, D. Lemon.