In the midst of the Wisconsin trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man accused of fatally shooting two demonstrators during the Kenosha race riots of 2020, the judge in the case paused proceedings to publicly chastise liberal CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for his commentary on the case, as the Washington Examiner reports.
Taking the recently scandalized Toobin to task was Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder, who cautioned the legal teams on both sides that media portrayals of the trial to that point in time were endangering public faith the ultimate outcome in the matter, whatever it may be.
It is thought that the judge was primarily speaking about journalists’ upset over his pretrial rulings that prosecutors would not be permitted to call the deceased protestors “victims,” but that Rittenhouse’s lawyers could call them “arsonists,” rioters,” or “looters,” as long as it could be established that they were engaging in those activities on the night in question.
Those findings had prompted Toobin to say, contrary to observations from a number of Wisconsin legal analysts, “It’s a very weird…ruling. What’s very weird is allowing this extremely pejorative, assuming the conclusion, words of ‘rioters’ and ‘looters,’ which all in all should help Rittenhouse’s defense a great deal.”
Toobin continued, “[It’s] a very troubling situation because, again, using [the words] suggests that Rittenhouse was justified in what he was doing, because these were bad people that he shot, they were committing crimes…”.
These remarks caused Schroeder to declare, as the Chicago Tribune noted, “There are people in the media, on reputable sites, that are saying things that are totally bizarre.”
The judge went on, “This was on CNN, Jeffrey Toobin and another attorney there, and a comment was made that the ruling was incomprehensible, and I think they obviously are not familiar with this rule.”
Pointing to the broader danger of ill-founded legal analysis such as Toobin’s, Schroeder added, “I’m going to comment about the media again because there was a gentleman on TV night before last who said this is the most divisive case in the country to date. So anything that undermines public confidence in what happens here is very important.”
Considering the racially explosive protests that spurred the events at issue in the trial and the potentially incendiary response to whatever verdict is handed down in the end, the judge prudently concluded, “It’s important for this town. It’s important for this country, to have people have confidence in the result of this trial, whatever it is,” and for Toobin to damage that cause simply to further his network’s political agenda is, sadly, par for the course.