Judge Bruce Schroeder’s cellphone rang during Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial Wednesday, and footage of the moment had the internet on vibrate.
Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi was asking Schroeder to declare a mistrial with no possibility of a retrial when the rousing notes of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” broke out in the Kenosha, Wisconsin courtroom.
Judge’s phone goes off in Rittenhouse trial. His ringtone is “Proud to be an American” pic.twitter.com/KmvKJj14A0
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 10, 2021
The judge quickly flipped open his brown leather folio smartphone case and silenced the 1984 country rock anthem, aka “Proud to Be an American.”
- After a brief pause, Chirafisi continued arguing for a mistrial, alleging prosecutorial misconduct.
- Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request.
As with much of the trial of Rittenhouse — who has claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot three men during violent anti-police protests in Kenosha in August 2020 — reactions to the viral moment were politically polarized.
Progressives observers heard the ringtone as further proof of Schroeder’s supposed bias toward the defendant and the “MAGA” right, with Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin calling it the “coup de grâce” for hopes of a murder conviction.
The judge in the Rittenhouse trial had his cellphone ring during the trial, and the ring tone is a Trump campaign theme song 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/QOHFEdDr1g
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) November 11, 2021
Conservative commentators did not dispute the patriotic ringtone’s partisan resonance, but some suggested liberals should reflect on what that says about them.
I love how everyone now knows that the judge isn’t a Democrat.
Think about that for a moment. https://t.co/iCW6QJdCTv
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) November 10, 2021
Throughout the day Wednesday, Schroeder repeatedly berated Thomas Binger, the beleaguered lead prosecutor, for what the judge saw as violations of his orders.
NOW – Judge in Rittenhouse trial screams at the prosecutor. pic.twitter.com/UBxDTwVIoT
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 10, 2021