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Soon: Jury to Get Case in Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; Violence Erupts at Belarus-Poland Border as Migrants Trapped; Wyoming GOP Votes to No Longer Consider Liz Cheney a Republican. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 06:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman on this NEW DAY.


The fate of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse now in the hands of the jury. What to expect as deliberations begin.

And Steve Bannon lawyers up, promising a misdemeanor from hell. His attorney will join us live on NEW DAY.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Wyoming Republicans vote to no longer consider Liz Cheney a part of the party. How's that for cancel culture?

And breaking overnight: why the Chinese leader warned President Biden, don't play with fire.

Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Tuesday, November 16. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

Kyle Rittenhouse's fate is in the hands of the jury today. Deliberation in the teenager's homicide trial will begin in just a couple hours. A panel of 18 jurors -- eight men, 10 women -- will be narrowed down to the final 12 in a random drawing using a raffle tumbler.

KEILAR: This follows a day with more than five hours of closing arguments. The prosecution painting Rittenhouse as an armed vigilante, an active shooter who provoked the violence.

The defense portraying him as a frightened teenager trying to defend himself and the community from an angry mob.

Shimon Prokupecz is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with our top story -- Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Brianna, this verdict sheet awaits the jury once the final 12 are chosen. It's 14 pages for the seven counts that they must decide on whether Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty or not guilty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PROKUPECZ (voice-over): In just hours, the jury will begin deliberations in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.

THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Now you've heard the evidence, and it's time to search for the truth.

PROKUPECZ: The prosecution giving their closing arguments Monday, saying Rittenhouse was in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to start trouble instead of what he claimed that night.

KYLE RITTENHOUSE, DEFENDANT: Part of my job is also to help people. If there's somebody hurt, I'm running into harm's way. That's why I have my rifle, because I need to protect myself, obviously. I also have my (UNINTELLIGIBLE) can.

PROKUPECZ: But according to prosecutors, Rittenhouse did the opposite.

JAMES KRAUS, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We know that Mr. Rittenhouse is going around that night trying to be a paramedic, a policeman, and a fireman, without receiving any real training in any of them. Tough job to do all three at once.

He's a chaos tourist. He was there to see what was going on, act important, be a big deal. And then the moment a little bit of that chaos comes back at him, he cowardly shoots a man instead of fighting back.

PROKUPECZ: They focused on the AR-15 style rifle he carried, used to ultimately kill Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injure Gaige Grosskreutz.

BINGER: No serious, credible medic wears an AR-15 slung around their body. That's because the defendant was a fraud. He was not an EMT. He lied.

He showed no remorse for his victims. Never tried to help anybody that he hurt. And even on the witness stand, when he testified on Wednesday, he broke down crying about himself. Not about anybody that he hurt that night. No remorse. No concern for anyone else.

PROKUPECZ: The prosecution also showing this slowed-down drone video, portraying the final altercation before Rittenhouse shot and killed Rosenbaum.

BINGER: You can see from this video that Mr. Rosenbaum is not even within arm's reach of the defendant when the first shot goes off. The defendant fires four shots in quick succession.

PROKUPECZ: For over two hours, prosecutors working to prove Rittenhouse should be held responsible for the shootings.

BINGER: There is no doubt in this case that the defendant committed these crimes. The question is whether or not you believe that his actions were legally justified. And I submit to you that no reasonable person would have done what the defendant did. And that makes your decision easy. He's guilty of all counts. PROKUPECZ: But for the defense, they say Rittenhouse was only trying

to protect himself from people like Rosenbaum, who they say was a threat to others at the protest.

MARK RICHARDS, RITTENHOUSE'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He was a bad man. He was there. He was causing trouble. He was a rioter. And my client had to deal with him that night alone.

Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client and going to kill him, take his gun, and carry out the threats he made.


PROKUPECZ: Defense attorney Mark Richards arguing that Rittenhouse killing Rosenbaum was justified.

RICHARDS: Kyle shot Joseph Rosenbaum to stop a threat to his person, and I'm glad he shot him. Because if Joseph Rosenbaum had got that gun, I don't for a minute believe he wouldn't have used it again somebody else. He was irrational and crazy. My client didn't shoot at anyone until he was chased and cornered.

PROKUPECZ: Richards arguing the same for Rittenhouse's attack of the two other victims.

RICHARDS: Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle. One with a skateboard. One with his hands. One with his feet. One with a gun. Hands and feet can cause great bodily harm.

PROKUPECZ: In closing, the defense also claiming the prosecution's presentation of Rittenhouse as a dangerous active shooter was unfair.

RICHARDS: Ladies and gentlemen, Kyle was not an active shooter. That is a buzzword that the state wants to latch onto, because it excuses the actions of that mob.

PROKUPECZ: Judge Bruce Schroeder dropping a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon under the age of 18, ruling the barrel of the firearm in question was too long.

RICHARDS: It is not a short-barreled shotgun or short-barreled rifle, yes.


RICHARDS: Correct.

SCHROEDER: All right. Then count six is dismissed.

PROKUPECZ: Now, Rittenhouse faces five felony charges of first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempt at first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. He has pleaded not guilty to all.

Judge Bruce Schroeder telling jurors they are allowed to consider convicting Rittenhouse for lesser offenses for two of the five counts.

The trial could be nearing its end after 31 witnesses taking the stand over eight days of testimony, including Rittenhouse, who testified in his own defense last week.

RITTENHOUSE: I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself.

PROKUPECZ: Now, Rittenhouse's fate is in the hands of the jury, who will decide what happens to the man who shot three, killing two.

SCHROEDER: Members of the jury, the time has now come when the great burden of reaching a just, fair, and conscientious decision in this case will be placed wholly with you jurors, selected.

PROKUPECZ: But within those directions, the judge also sending potential jurors home with this unusual note. too.

SCHROEDER: You will pay no heed to the opinions of anyone, even the president of the United States or the president before him. The founders of our country gave you and you alone the power and the duty to decide this case, based solely on the evidence presented in this court.


PROKUPECZ: And Brianna, you know, those comments from the judge obviously paying attention to some of the attention that this case has gotten, as this community prepares for this verdict.

We expect the jury to come to court 9 a.m. local time here, and then within the hour or so after that, the final 12 will be selected. And then they will be sent off into the deliberation room.

And then we wait, which could -- this could take some time, perhaps. Certainly, the court is bracing for a long day. This judge, you know, I was talking to some of the local reporters here who say that this judge is known to keep jurors here late. So we could be in for a long night here.

KEILAR: All right, Shimon, we'll be watching. Thank you for that report.

BERMAN: Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson, as well as assistant professor of law at Brooklyn College, Alexis Hoag.

Professor, I think there's broad agreement that the prosecution had more work to do in these closing arguments. So as the jury heads to the deliberation room in just a few hours, what's the most important thing they're taking with them from the prosecution?

ALEXIS HOAG, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, BROOKLYN COLLEGE: Yes, thank you for that opening question. The prosecution really delivered. I think they used the weekend well to bring their narrative together.

And what they did was deliver a compelling story arc. Because that's what jurors want to hear. They want the evidence. They want the witnesses to make some sort of sense.

And their overarching narrative was that you had this person come in from outside, not defending their own property, not defending their own family, nor their home, bringing a gun, looking for a fight.

And then they peppered it with some of the highlights of evidence that the jurors saw, reinforcing repeatedly their story line and that story arc.

And so we saw the drone footage that we saw when Rittenhouse shot, initially, Mr. Rosenbaum. He was on the ground. He wasn't lunging; he wasn't attacking. And of course, that was the defense's characterization. So the -- the prosecution actually really delivered.


BERMAN: In 11 seconds, they summed up what they had a struggle making clear over the last several weeks. I just want to play one sound bite from the prosecution. Listen.


BINGER: You cannot hide behind self-defense if you provoked the incident. If you created the danger, you forfeit the right to self- defense.


BERMAN: Chances that the jury heard that, Joey?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think they heard it loudly and clearly. I think, to Alexis's point, I was quite impressed with what the prosecution did. They brought it together. They explained a narrative, and that narrative was very compelling as to guilt.

Prior to going into closings, I was saying, "Wow, it looks like defense will run away." Now, they really tightened it up.

I think there's two things that would very much concern me as a defense attorney and would have me not sleeping very well tonight. One of those issues relates to provocation, right?

In the event that the jury buys the argument that Rittenhouse provoked this, thereby, he loses the privilege of self-defense. You were a guy who came in from out of town. You brought your gun. You had no business being here. You thought you were a police officer. You weren't. You thought you were a medical person. You weren't. You actually were using that rifle in a way, pointing it at people, thereby disturbing the peace yourself, bringing this and causing the chain of events for yourself, that provocation is troubling.

Next point, last point. That is the proportionality of the conduct. What do I mean? In a self-defense case, yes, you have to show that you're in immediate fear of death or serious injury.

Second thing you have to show, though, is that the force you used was proportionate to the threat that was posed. Prosecution did a very good job saying, You ripped apart Rosenbaum's pelvis, right? He was going down. You continued to shoot. You shot again and again.

Now, the reality is the shot was under one second, three quarters of a second, but the manner in which the prosecution described it was such that you mowed him down. It was disproportionate. And if that disproportionality element is present, guess what? You lose.

And so those are the two big things that concern me as a defense attorney.

BERMAN: But, but I know the jury goes into the room with a whole bunch of different counts that they're supposed to consider individually, each on their own. However, that's not always how the mind works, right?

So this jury, very likely, could go in there thinking, if this was self-defense, Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty. And the defense put on a case that said, and with video evidence, and often the prosecution introduced, that in the case of Rosenbaum, Huber, Grosskreutz, in each example, the defense said, Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense. Eighter because he was being chased, because a skateboard was being swung at him, or a gun was being pointed.

HOAG: Yes. I think those are things that the jury has to reconcile. And I know that in cases you have defended, juries will often go back, and they'll want to split the baby, so to speak, and so give the prosecution a little something, give the defense a little something.

But here, the jurors have to reconcile the fact that you have this person who is standing trial, came away from that evening basically unscathed. And you have two deceased people and one person whose arm was nearly severed. When they showed that footage, when they showed that, that was striking.

And it's very difficult for a jury to go back and deliberate and not come up with something. They have five counts that they can deliver on. The top being first-degree, intentional homicide. They were instructed that they can consider the lesser included offenses there.

And so you have second-degree intentional homicide, and then you have reckless homicide. That's all vis-a-vis, I believe, it's Huber. And so the jury actually has a lot of options here, and I don't see that they necessarily would convict on that top charge, but they have a lot to work with.


BERMAN: But Joey, if they buy self-defense --

JACKSON: Yes, so I've been saying that all along. But two things. Two more things that concern me. I said there were only two.

The other thing that concerns me are these lesser included offenses, right? Because, to your point, Alexis, oftentimes what jurors will do is say, You're not guilty of that. However, we'll compromise, and we'll make you guilty of something less. So they have more of a smorgasbord to decide what the issue is.

Next issue, obviously, self-defense. I've talked about that already.

But to your point, and I've been saying all along, in this narrative, if you can pull off, from a defense perspective, that this was self- defense -- John, you said it earlier -- as to every single person; as to the person who whacked you with a skateboard that was coming for your head, it was self-defense. I was in immediate fear of death. It hit me in the neck. Oh, my goodness, I fell down.

The person pointed a gun at me, right? Same person that you mentioned in terms of the arm footage, graphic, bad, right? What is his name?

BERMAN: Grosskreutz.

JACKSON: Grosskreutz, exactly. He pointed a gun. What can I do? I've demonstrated the imminence of the fear. I demonstrated that my force was proportionate. I've got that.

And then with respect to the last person who grabs the rifle -- so I'm one that views this, if the jury buys the notion that this was self- defense, nothing else to consider. Don't give me lesser includeds. Don't give me anything. He was under attack. The atmosphere was volatile. Fires, riot, mob, boom. If they buy that narrative, I think he walks.


BERMAN: Professor, Counselor, thank you very much. We'll watch.

HOAG: Yes.

BERMAN: The jury goes in very shortly. Thank you very much.

Violence erupting moments ago on a key European border. Water cannons being used on migrants. CNN is live on the ground.

And the lawyer for the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery requesting a mistrial because of who was sitting in the back of the courtroom. Why the judge called the request reprehensible.

KEILAR: Plus, Liz Cheney, a victim of cancel culture, as Republicans in her home state kick her out of the party.



KEILAR: Violence is erupting along the Poland-Belarus border, and thousands of men, women, and children are trapped there in freezing conditions.

Belarus is accused of pushing migrants towards its borders and preventing them from then retreating, a charge, though, that it does deny.

The European Union plans to slap Belarus with new sanctions as this crisis is escalating.

CNN's Matthew Chance live for us in Bruzgi, Belarus, with more on this. Tell us what you're seeing there, Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna -- Brianna, I was just warming my hands and drying some of my clothes off, because it's been an absolutely tense, dramatic situation here on the border between Belarus and Poland.

We've all been saturated with the water cannons that have been fired by the Poland border guards onto these refugees, as they tried to storm the barricades.

And you can see the border fence here, if I bring you up towards it, it's been broken down by sheer force, by young men trying to get as close as they can to the border of Poland, the border of the European Union.

And look, the situation has calmed over the past several minutes. People have moved back. They're not firing water cannon anymore. Rocks aren't being thrown any more by the refugees towards.

But there, you can see the water cannons are still there. The troops are still on the border, absolutely determined not to allow these refugees to pass. Look at them spread out here over this area on the border between Belarus and Poland.

The U.S., of course, accuses Belarus of orchestrating this refugee crisis in order to create a humanitarian catastrophe on the border. They say it's a cynical exploitation. This is Secretary Blinken saying this yesterday. A cynical exploitation of vulnerable people.

And the Poles have made it absolutely clear that they are not going to back down, and they're not going to let people through.

Earlier, we saw dramatic scenes here at the official border checkpoint, with people rushing forward, throwing rocks towards the barricades. The Polish security forces, the border guards, the water cannon responded in kind, pushing people back with water sprays and pepper spray.

And you know, we all got covered in it, as well. And it's something acrid in the water that was, you know, quite stinging in the eyes, made everybody cough.

And you know, the result has been that it's pushed people back. And so this has all been an expression of the kind of frustration that's been building in this camp, in these areas along the border with Belarus and Poland for the past week or so, since a couple of thousand people started to gather here with hopes that they would be able to go through into Poland and to get political asylum as refugees in the European Union.

There's still some, you know, sort of tear gas in the air as I speak to you now. But of course, that has not happened, and so it's left them still in

this very severely bleak situation here on the border. And there's very little sign at this point of any side backing down. Belarus is still bringing people in. The Poles, the European Union, are still refusing to let anybody out the other side, Brianna.

KEILAR: What's the temperature there, Matthew?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, given that it's the middle of November in Belarus, you know, it's, fortunately, not as cold as it could be, but it's still well below freezing at night. The temperature is about zero degrees, freezing temperature right now.

But you know, in days, in weeks, you know, in the middle of the winter in this part of the world, temperatures can plunge dangerously low. Minus 5, minus 10, even lower in the depths of winter.

And so this humanitarian crisis is running against the clock of the seasons. If we do get into a situation where these refugees are facing minus 10, minus 20 degrees centigrade -- I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit, unfortunately, but very, very cold. And then you really are going to have an acutely serious situation.

Already, these people don't really have sufficient shelter. Some of them have got tents now, but very thin, makeshift ones. Some of them, as you can see here, have got sleeping bags, but everybody is wet. Everybody is hungry.


CHANCE: They're using these campfires, as I was showing you earlier, to keep warm. But you know, it's not enough to keep people going for an extended period of time.

KEILAR: No. And there are children there in that crowd well behind you, we should mention. Freezing temperatures plus water is a very dangerous situation. Matthew, we know that you'll continue to cover this. Thank you.

CHANCE: Thank you.

BERMAN: Amazing. Amazing reporting by Matthew there.

Breaking overnight, two explosions rocking the Ugandan capital of Kampala. At least three people believed to be police officers were killed, according to a journalist on the scene who witnessed the carnage. Twenty-seven other officers were injured.

The first blast went off near the central police station and the second moments after outside Parliament. A third device was found later and detonated by the bomb squad. The cause of the explosion is not yet known, and no group has claimed responsibility.


New revelations that two members of Trump's cabinet discussed the 25th Amendment on the eve of January 6th.

KEILAR: And Steve Bannon says the Biden administration is messing with the wrong guy. His lawyer will join us to explain.


BERMAN Breaking overnight, we learned that the Wyoming Republican Party, its central committee, voted to no longer consider Congresswoman Liz Cheney a member of the party.

The decision all stems from Cheney's efforts to hold Donald Trump accountable in his role in the insurrection on January 6th. The news broke in the "Casper Star-Tribune." The vote was 31-29.

Joining me now, "New York Times" Washington correspondent and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman.