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Posted by Worldkrap on

Lawyers of US Teen Acquitted in Deadly Shooting Speak Out on Strategy

Soon after a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges against him, defense attorney Mark Richards took a swipe at his predecessors, telling reporters that their tactics — leaning into Rittenhouse’s portrayal as a rallying point for the right to carry weapons and defend oneself — were not his.

“I was hired by the two first lawyers. I’m not going to use their names,” Richards said Friday. “They wanted to use Kyle for a cause and something that I think was inappropriate — and I don’t represent causes. I represent clients.”

Richards, beaming as he talked to reporters outside his Racine law office after the acquittal, said that to him, the only thing that mattered was “whether he was found not guilty or not.”

It seemed an apt comment from Richards. Along with co-counsel Corey Chirafisi, he spent the months leading up to the case in virtual silence — “I don’t do interviews,” he said brusquely to one emailed request in December — and sought at trial to minimize the polarizing questions about Second Amendment rights.

Hours after the verdict, Fox News touted an exclusive interview and upcoming documentary on Rittenhouse, with footage that made it clear a crew had been embedded with him during the trial. Richards told The Associated Press Saturday that he opposed the crew as inappropriate, but that it was arranged by those raising money for Rittenhouse.

“It was not approved by me, but I’m not always in control,” he said, adding that he had to toss the crew out of the room on several occasions: “I think it detracted from what we were trying to do, and that was obviously to get Kyle found not guilty.” 

Regardless of what was happening behind the scenes, the strategy from Richards and Chirafisi in court was clear: get the jury to regard Rittenhouse as a scared teenager who shot to save his life. 

They repeatedly focused on the two minutes, 55 seconds in which the shootings unfolded — the critical moments in which Rittenhouse, then 17, said he felt a threat and pulled the trigger. 

“These guys have a client who is a human being, that’s what they’re rightly focused on,” said Dean Strang, a defense attorney and distinguished professor in residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Strang, who spoke to the AP before Friday’s verdict and who wasn’t connected to the case, said Richards and Chirafisi see Rittenhouse “as an 18-year-old kid who landed in a whole lot of trouble, more than he could handle.”

In the days after the shootings, Rittenhouse — who brought an AR-style rifle to a protest, saying he was protecting a stranger’s property — was initially represented by attorneys John Pierce and Lin Wood, who painted Rittenhouse as a defender of liberty and a patriot who was exercising his right to bear arms.

Pierce tweeted a video of Rittenhouse speaking by phone from a jail in Illinois, where he’s from, thanking supporters. A video released by a group tied to his legal team said Rittenhouse was being “sacrificed by politicians” whose “end game” was to stop the “constitutional right of all citizens to defend our communities.”

Rivers of money flowed into a legal defense fund — more than enough for Rittenhouse to post his $2 million bail — but Wood left the case and became active in pressing the claim that Donald Trump had won the presidential election. Pierce left the criminal case in December after prosecutors said he shouldn’t be allowed to raise money for Rittenhouse, but he stayed on the civil side of things until Rittenhouse said he fired him in February.

On Friday, Richards recounted his first meeting with Rittenhouse: “I told him when I first met him, if he’s looking for somebody to go off on a crusade, I wasn’t his lawyer.”

Richards — gravel-voiced, gruff and often sprawled back in his chair during the proceedings — had seemed to be the lead attorney in the months leading up to the trial. After the verdicts, he called Chirafisi his co-counsel — “not second chair” — and referred to him as his “best friend.”

They came to court prepared. Richards used several videos during his opening statement — over the objection of prosecutors who did not seize on that opportunity. 

They argued vehemently for a mistrial when they felt prosecutors were acting in bad faith, and they appeared to outmaneuver prosecutors in getting a gun charge dismissed.

And they made a careful calculation with perhaps their biggest decision: whether Rittenhouse should take the stand, risking a potentially damaging cross-examination. Richards said they tested their case against a pair of mock juries and found it was “substantially better” with Rittenhouse testifying.

“It wasn’t a close call,” he said.

Richards is a courtroom veteran and was a prosecutor in Racine and Kenosha counties in the late 1980s before he opened his own firm in 1990 that specializes in criminal defense. Chirafisi is also a former prosecutor and has been practicing law for more than 20 years. His law firm is in Madison. 

The attorneys repeatedly pushed back against prosecutors’ notion that Rittenhouse was an outsider drawn to Kenosha by the chaos, noting that although he lived in nearby Antioch, Illinois, his father lived in Kenosha and Rittenhouse worked in Kenosha County as a lifeguard. Richards shared his own distress at watching the violence in Kenosha from his home in Racine after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer.

While prosecutors tried to show that Rittenhouse acted as a vigilante who overreacted, he and his lawyers argued he was defending himself. “You as jurors will end up looking at it from the standpoint of a 17-year-old under the circumstances as they existed,” Richards told the jury.

When Rittenhouse was on the stand, they were quick to object to the prosecutor’s cross-examination, calling it badgering. 

In one fiery moment of the trial, after the defense objected to prosecutor Thomas Binger’s line of questioning, Chirafisi raised the prospect that Binger was trying to provoke a mistrial because the state was faring poorly.

“I don’t know that it’s my role to sit here and say who’s winning,” Chirafisi told the judge. “I don’t think that’s necessarily what I’m supposed to do. But I think the court has to make some findings as it relates to the bad faith on the part of the prosecution.”

Richards and Chirafisi split the duties at trial, with Richards doing the opening statement and closing argument and Chirafisi handling much of the witness testimony. Richards said the two argued over who would question Gaige Grosskreutz, the man who had a gun in his hand when Rittenhouse shot and wounded him.

Richards said Chirafisi won — and did a better job than he would have. Chirafisi got Grosskreutz to admit that he had pointed his gun at Rittenhouse.

“It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him that he fired, right?” Chirafisi asked.

“Correct,” Grosskreutz replied. Under follow-up questioning from the prosecutor, Grosskreutz said he never meant to point his weapon at Rittenhouse.

Strang, who helped represent Steven Avery in the case documented by the Netflix “Making a Murderer” series, described Chirafisi as quick-witted and always engaged in the courtroom. Strang said Richards is slow to anger, but “won’t let go” if he thinks something is unfair.

That was evident during Richards’ closing argument when, in his booming voice, he looked at the prosecutors’ table and repeatedly accused Binger of lying. Jurors appeared riveted. Richards repeated his distaste for the way prosecutors presented their case on Friday. 

He also blamed social media for spreading what he called “not the true story” of the events in Kenosha right after they happened – “something we had to work to overcome in court.”

“I knew this case was big,” Richards told reporters. “I never knew it was going to be this big.” 

Posted by Ukrap on

Пориви вітру порушили електропостачання населених пунктів у кількох областях

Posted by Ukrap on

Аніта Серьогіна здобула срібну медаль на чемпіонаті світу з карате

Українка поступилася чинній чемпіонці світу і Європи – Йовані Прекович із Сербії

Posted by Worldkrap on

Europe’s COVID Crisis Pits Vaccinated Against Unvaccinated

This was supposed to be the Christmas in Europe where family and friends could once again embrace holiday festivities and one another. Instead, the continent is the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic as cases soar to record levels in many countries.

With infections spiking again despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis increasingly is pitting citizen against citizen — the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.

Governments desperate to shield overburdened health care systems are imposing rules that limit choices for the unvaccinated in the hope that doing so will drive up rates of vaccinations.

Austria on Friday went a step further, making vaccinations mandatory as of Feb. 1.

“For a long time, maybe too long, I and others thought that it must be possible to convince people in Austria, to convince them to get vaccinated voluntarily,” Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said.

He called the move “our only way to break out of this vicious cycle of viral waves and lockdown discussions for good.”

While Austria so far stands alone in the European Union in making vaccinations mandatory, more and more governments are clamping down.

Starting Monday, Slovakia is banning people who haven’t been vaccinated from all nonessential stores and shopping malls. They also will not be allowed to attend any public event or gathering and will be required to test twice a week just to go to work.

“A merry Christmas does not mean a Christmas without COVID-19,” warned Prime Minister Eduard Heger. “For that to happen, Slovakia would need to have a completely different vaccination rate.”

 

He called the measures “a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

Slovakia, where just 45.3% of the 5.5 million population is fully vaccinated, reported a record 8,342 new virus cases Tuesday.

It is not only nations of central and eastern Europe that are suffering anew. Wealthy nations in the west also are being hit hard and imposing restrictions on their populations once again.

“It is really, absolutely, time to take action,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday. With a vaccination rate of 67.5%, her nation is now considering mandatory vaccinations for many health professionals.

Greece, too, is targeting the unvaccinated. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a battery of new restrictions late Thursday for the unvaccinated, keeping them out of venues including bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and gyms, even if they have tested negative.

“It is an immediate act of protection and, of course, an indirect urge to be vaccinated,” Mitsotakis said.

The restrictions enrage Clare Daly, an Irish EU legislator who is a member of the European parliament’s civil liberties and justice committee. She argues that nations are trampling individual rights.

“In a whole number of cases, member states are excluding people from their ability to go to work,” Daly said, calling Austria’s restrictions on the unvaccinated that preceded its decision Friday to impose a full lockdown “a frightening scenario.”

Even in Ireland, where 75.9% of the population is fully vaccinated, she feels a backlash against holdouts.

“There’s almost a sort of hate speech being whipped up against the unvaccinated,” she said.

 

The world has had a history of mandatory vaccines in many nations for diseases such as smallpox and polio. Yet despite a global COVID-19 death toll exceeding 5 million, despite overwhelming medical evidence that vaccines highly protect against death or serious illness from COVID-19 and slow the pandemic’s spread, opposition to vaccinations remains stubbornly strong among parts of the population.

Some 10,000 people, chanting “freedom, freedom,” gathered in Prague this week to protest Czech government restrictions imposed on the unvaccinated.

“No single individual freedom is absolute,” countered professor Paul De Grauwe of the London School of Economics. “The freedom not to be vaccinated needs to be limited to guarantee the freedom of others to enjoy good health,” he wrote for the liberal think tank Liberales.

That principle is now turning friends away from each other and splitting families across European nations.

Birgitte Schoenmakers, a general practitioner and professor at Leuven University, sees it on an almost daily basis.

“It has turned into a battle between the people,” she said.

She sees political conflicts whipped up by people willfully spreading conspiracy theories, but also intensely human stories. One of her patients has been locked out of the home of her parents because she dreads being vaccinated.

Schoemakers said that while authorities had long baulked at the idea of mandatory vaccinations, the highly infectious delta variant is changing minds.

“To make a U-turn on this is incredibly difficult,” she said.

Spiking infections and measures to rein them in are combining to usher in a second straight grim holiday season in Europe.

Leuven has already canceled its Christmas market, while in nearby Brussels a 60-foot Christmas tree was placed in the center of the city’s stunning Grand Place on Thursday but a decision on whether the Belgian capital’s festive market can go ahead will depend on the development of the virus surge.

Paul Vierendeels, who donated the tree, hopes for a return to a semblance of a traditional Christmas.

“We are glad to see they are making the effort to put up the tree, decorate it. It is a start,” he said. “After almost two difficult years, I think it is a good thing that some things, more normal in life, are taking place again.” 

 

Posted by Ukrap on

Українські прикордонники отримали два нових французьких гелікоптери Н-125 – МВС

«Відео з камер можна відразу передавати в наземний командний пункт. Це потужне посилення ДПСУ»

Posted by Worldkrap on

Dutch Police Open Fire on Rioters Protesting COVID Restrictions

Police opened fire on protesters in rioting that erupted in downtown Rotterdam around a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions late Friday night. The Dutch city’s mayor called it “an orgy of violence.”

Police said that two rioters were hospitalized after being hit by bullets, and investigations were underway to establish if they were shot by police. The condition of the injured rioters was not disclosed.

Officers arrested 51 people, about half of them minors, police said Saturday afternoon. One police officer was hospitalized with a leg injury sustained in the rioting, another was treated by ambulance staff and “countless” others suffered minor injuries.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told reporters in the early hours of Saturday morning that “on a number of occasions the police felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves” as rioters ran rampage through the port city’s central shopping district, setting fires and throwing rocks and fireworks at officers. 

“They shot at protesters, people were injured,” Aboutaleb said. He did not have details about the injuries. Police also fired warning shots.

Police combing through video footage from security cameras expect to make more arrests.

Photos from the scene showed at least one police car in flames and another with a bicycle slammed through its windshield.

Riot police and a water cannon restored calm after midnight.

It was one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the Netherlands since coronavirus restrictions were first imposed last year. In January, rioters also attacked police and set fires on the streets of Rotterdam after a curfew came into force.

Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus condemned the events.

“The riots and extreme violence against police officers, riot police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam are disgusting to see,” he said in a statement.

“Protesting is a great right in our society, but what we saw last night is simply criminal behavior. It has nothing to do with demonstrating,” he added.

Police units from around the country raced to Rotterdam to help bring Friday night’s situation under control. Local media reported that gangs of soccer hooligans were involved in the rioting.

Video from social media shown on Dutch broadcaster NOS appeared to show one person being shot in Rotterdam, but there was no immediate word on what happened.

Police said in a tweet it was “still unclear how and by whom” that person was apparently shot. 

An independent investigation into the shootings by police was opened, as is the case whenever Dutch police use their weapons.

The government has said it wants to introduce a law that would allow businesses to restrict the country’s coronavirus pass system to only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 — that would exclude people who test negative.

The country has seen record numbers of infections in recent days, and a new partial lockdown came into force a week ago.

Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence in a tweet.

“The center of our beautiful city has this evening transformed into a war zone,” it said. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with things that happen, but violence is never, never, the solution.”

Posted by Ukrap on

На північних схилах гори Піп Іван у Карпатах випало до метра снігу

Український гідрометеорологічний центр повідомляє, що 21 листопада на території України буде без істотних опадів, лише в Чернігівській, Сумській і Харківській областях – невеликий дощ, подекуди з мокрим снігом