CHICAGO - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday said that Kyle Rittenhouse had "no business" being in Kenosha that night when three protesters were shot, two of them fatally.
She also accused the judge in the trial of "shaping the evidence that was getting presented" to the jury.
"I’m an old trial lawyer, and I know when I see a judge putting the thumb on the scale for a particular result," Lightfoot said. "The excluding of evidence, not allowing the deceased to be called victims, not letting certain charges go to the jury."
She said although the jury knew this case was a "very big deal" and took their responsibility very seriously, Lightfoot said the jury is "looking for cues."
"But they’re looking for cues. Not just from the prosecutor and defense attorney. But they look for cues from the judge. And that’s why it’s so important, when you’re a trial judge in any case, but particularly something as sensitive as this, you have to call balls and strikes. You have to be very even handed. And you can’t afford to send messages, whether intentionally or otherwise, to the jury that you have a particular point of view of how the evidence should come out."
Lightfoot went on to say that in her entire career of being a prosecutor and defense attorney, that she’s never seen a situation where the defendant got to pull names out of a hat of who the jurors were going to be that were deciding their fate, which is what happened in the Rittenhouse trial.
"I could go on, but you get the point. The judge, in my view, put his thumb on the scale. And that’s not the way justice in the United States should ever, ever happen," she said.
Lightfoot also said she’s worried about "right-wing, frankly unhinged members of Congress" offering internships to Rittenhouse since he was acquitted.
"What is that?" Lightfoot said. "A lot of other groups that frankly in my view are anti-American, anti-Democracy using this as a rallying cry. Yeah, I’ve very concerned about what that verdict does."
"Now, again, you’ve got to respect the jury’s decision," she added. "I think if I had seen the evidence, I would have come out with a different result."
Lightfoot concluded her remarks with asking why Rittenhouse was in Kenosha to begin with.
"Let’s just back up from this. Why on Earth did that child, and that’s what he was, a child, have an AR-15 or whatever his rifle was, leave his home in Antioch and think he had the right to go up to another state and to supposedly protect the city? That makes no sense to me. And if it’s a free-for-all, and everybody can simply take matters into their own hands, we’re gonna devolve into chaos. And that’s what I’m concerned about. He had no business being there. None. And neither did anybody else other than bona fide law enforcement or property owners in Kenosha. He had no business being there," Lightfoot said.
On Friday, Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all five charges stemming from the night he shot three people during the unrest in Kenosha.