Kyle Rittenhouse, Ahmaud Arbery cases saw similar claims of self-defense, far different outcomes

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It is a contrast of cases: Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin.

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Prosecutors in Georgia and in Wisconsin both used show-and-tell techniques, displaying the guns that were fired with deadly results. Both prosecutors made nearly identical arguments against self-defense. But in the Georgia case against three men, the verdicts were nearly all guilty and in Kyle Rittenhouse's Wisconsin case, the verdict was not guilty. The question is why?

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"I think the short answer as to why there were different outcomes is what the video showed in each case," ABC 7 legal analyst Gil Soffer told the I-Team. "And the testimony in Rittenhouse, it was Rosenbaum principally who chased Rittenhouse, and Rittenhouse then back on his heels firing his weapon. And the Georgia case, it was clearly these defendants who gave chase and who forced the issue and who provoked the outcome. So, the facts were simply different on the core question of who provoked it, who put people in danger."

Soffer is a former federal prosecutor. He says even though the two different prosecutions and defenses were similar, and the same at times, the facts of each case were different. So, even though Rittenhouse claimed he fired in self-defense and the three defendants in Georgia made the same claim, the jury takeaway in each case was far different, resulting in different outcomes.

"At the moment Rittenhouse pulled that trigger, he was being chased," Soffer said. "In the Georgia case, the jurors were looking at the video and listening to the evidence and it was the flip side, and that instance, at the moment that trigger was pulled, it was the defendants here who were giving chase, who were provoking Arbery, who forced him to defend himself, and who pulled the trigger in an entirely different picture about who was the aggressor and who was being aggressed against."

The three men convicted of killing Arbery will also face federal civil rights charges for allegedly committing hate crimes. In Kenosha, there is no indication Kyle Rittenhouse will face a similar civil rights case. Soffer said the reason for that is simply that Arbery was Black and the people Rittenhouse killed were white. Therefore, he says, no racial hate crime existed.
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