Crime The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Story Explained
EXPLAINER: Rittenhouse attorneys spar over victim depictions
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attorneys spent the first week of Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial sparring over who provoked whom, with prosecutors portraying the Illinois teenager as the aggressor and the defense working to show that the men he shot had threatened him. The stakes are enormous as jurors weigh whether Rittenhouse fired in self-defense because he legitimately felt threatened or whether he overreacted. “To establish self-defense, the first prong is the defense must show there was going to be interference with Rittenhouse and that Rittenhouse had a belief that could result in great bodily harm,” said former Milwaukee County prosecutor Daniel Adams, who isn't inv
The closing arguments in the divisive trial of Kyle Rittenhouse take place on Monday after more than a year of intense coverage surrounding the case.
After two weeks of testimony, the defense and prosecution will outline their arguments surrounding the 18-year-old for the final time to the jury at Kenosha County Circuit court.
Rittenhouse is accused of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and reckless endangerment (two counts) in connection to the shootings at theprotests in August 2020.
EXPLAINER: Does Kyle Rittenhouse need to testify?
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Defense attorneys typically encourage their clients to testify in self-defense cases. But Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial is anything but typical and it's still unclear whether the Illinois man will take the stand to explain to jurors what he was thinking when he shot three people during a protest in Wisconsin last year. Rittenhouse's attorney, Mark Richards, told the jury during opening statements last week that they would hear from Rittenhouse himself about how protesters were carrying rocks.
Ahead of Monday's closing arguments, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a misdemeanor charge of being a minor in possession of a firearm against Rittenhouse, citing Wisconsin law regarding the length of barrel the defendant used at the time.
He faces life in prison if found guilty of the most severe offenses.
What Happened That Night?
Kenosha had already experienced two nights of unrest by the time then 17-year-old Rittenhouse traveled from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, to attend the protests which erupted after Black manwas shot several times by a white police officer.
The entire case hinges on whether the jury believe Rittenhouse was in Kenosha that night in order to protect the city from the protesters and provide medical attention to those injured in the disorder, and onlyas well as injure Gaige Grosskreutz, in self-defense.
EXPLAINER: Did Rittenhouse lawyers do enough to prevail?
KENOSHA, Wisconsin (AP) — When Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand to testify about his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha — sobbing and seemingly unable to continue as he approached the critical moment where he shot the first man — it was one of the most compelling moments in his two-week murder trial. It might have been the most effective part of his three-day defense, too, potentially swaying any jurors inclined toward sympathy for the 18-year-old who has claimed self-defense in the shootings that left two of the men dead.
The prosecution has argued that Rittenhouse, who had teamed up with an armed militia group that night, was a vigilante who helped instigate the violence and killed his unarmed victims without legal justification.
Before Rittenhouse fired at Rosenbaum, he was filmed standing with armed men saying they were protecting a gas station from being set on fire by the protesters.
He is later seen apparently being chased through the street by a group of men, with Rosenbaum throwing a plastic bag at him which the defendant originally thought was a Molotov cocktail, according to a criminal complaint.
Another man also apparently fired his gun in the air. Several more shots were then fired, although it is unclear where these came from.
After hearing the shots, Rittenhouse turned around while Rosenbaum is alleged to have lunged towards his rifle. Rittenhouse then fired four times, hitting Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse case raises question: What makes a fair trial?
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — At one point, the 18-year-old murder defendant stood behind the seated, black-robed judge and peered over him to review evidence. At another, on Veterans Day, the judge led the jury and others in the courtroom in applause for veterans just as a defense witness who had served in the Army was about to testify. And as the case neared its conclusion, the judge permitted the defendant to draw numbers from a raffle drum to determine which jurors would serve as alternates — creating the appearance, however small, that the defendant was helping to administer his own trial.
Further video from the scenes show Rittenhouse telling someone on his cellphone: "I just shot somebody, I had to shoot him."
Later on that night, more protesters were seenin apparent attempts to detain him after he killed Rosenbaum.
After the teenager fell to the ground, Rittenhouse said one of the protesters attacked him, while Huber hits him with a skateboard. Rittenhouse fires twice, shooting the 26-year-old in the chest and arm.
Rittenhouse then fired at Gaige Grosskreutz, who was armed with a pistol, as he approached the defendant.
After the shootings, Rittenhouse fled down the street past police officers who did not stop and detain the juvenile still armed with a rifle. He was eventually arrested the following day.
What Happened at the Trial?
There have been several key moments in the trial since the
In a potentially risky move, Rittenhouse took to the stand to give evidence himself at his own murder trial.
While giving his testimony,while describing the moments that led up to him shooting Rosenbaum.
Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Jury still deliberating verdict as judge considers mistrial over drone video
Jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial were to deliberate for a third day while the judge considers a request from the defense for a mistrial. Your browser does not support this video A key piece of evidence in the prosecution's case — a drone video that shows Rittenhouse fatally shooting the first man he fired at on the night of Aug. 25, 2020 — was called into question Wednesday when Rittenhouse's defense lawyers said they received a lower quality version of the clip.
He told the jury how protester Joshua Ziminski approached him with a pistol in his hand and that he was unable to flee because he was soon surrounded by the crowd.
"I look over my shoulder and Mr. Rosenbaum was now running from my right side and I was cornered..in front of me with Ziminski...there were people...." Rittenhouse said before he became too emotional to speak.
Later on during cross-examination, Rittenhouse explained that he still felt like he was in danger despite Rosenbaum not being armed and him being in possession of a semi-automatic rifle.
"If I would have let Mr Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would have used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people," Rittenhouse said.
Jason Lackowski, a former Marine and a prosecution witness, dismissed Rittenhouse's suggestion that Rosenbaum was a threat that night. Lackowski described the 36-year-old as acting "belligerently" when he met him in Kenosha butthan someone who posed a lethal threat.
, Grosskreutz described while giving evidence how Rittenhouse only shot him after he pointed his own gun at him from point blank range.
Under cross-examination, Rittenhouse's lawyer Corey Chirafisi asked Grosskreutz: "It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun—now your hands down, pointed at him—that he fired, right?"
Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty of All Charges in Fatal Shooting of 2 Men At Black Lives Matter Protest
Kyle Rittenhouse, then 17, was accused of homicide for using an AR-style rifle to kill two people during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, Wisc., last yearJurors embraced the claim that Kyle Rittenhouse was defending himself when he fatally shot two men and injured a third last year, clearing him of homicide Friday along with all related charges that included recklessly brandishing a dangerous weapon during a Black Lives Matter protest over police brutality in Kenosha, Wisc.
"Correct," Grosskreutz replied.
Elsewhere during a heated day in court on November 10,yelled at Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger over his conduct in court.
Binger was reprimanded after asking Rittenhouse about a video recorded weeks before the Kenosha protest in which he allegedly states he wished he had a rifle so he could shoot two people exiting a pharmacy because he thought they were shoplifters. The judge had previously ruled the video as inadmissible evidence.
The judge also condemned Binger for asking Rittenhouse why he is now only just speaking publicly about the case, despite defendants having the legal right to remain silent until their trial in order not to incriminate themselves.
"That's basic law. It's been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that," Schroeder said.
"I don't know what you're up to. When you say you were acting in good faith, I don't believe you."
The move promptedclaiming the prosecution purposely sought to have the case thrown out because it was "going badly" for them.
How Are People Viewing the Case?
As with everything surrounding the trial, people have had polarizing views regarding Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse lawyers' trial playbook: Don't 'crusade,' defend
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.
For months, the 18-year-old has been supported by conservative and far-right figures, who view him as a hero acting in self-defense as left-wing protesters caused destruction in another another city in the name of Black Lives Matter protests.
Others have suggested Rittenhouse has benefited from white privilege and that the focus surrounding the trial would be drastically different if Rittenhouse was Black.
Speaking on hisshow on November 10, said that Rittenhouse had "already won the case" before he gave evidence, suggesting he was acting in self-defense while trying to stop the "violent insanity" which erupted in Kenosha and other cities in the wake of the murder of .
"In Kenosha, the police barely even showed up. Officers in armored cruisers sat and watched as rioters torched a car lot with more than 100 vehicles in it. And they did nothing to stop the chaos," Carlson said.
"The question, then, is how exactly are we surprised when a 17-year-old lifeguard from Illinois decides to step in? They hate it when you say that, but it's an entirely fair question. When legitimate authority refuses to do its duty, its sworn duty, others will fill the vacuum."
Writing forNews, Issac Bailey, professor of public policy at Davidson College and author of Why Didn't We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland suggested it doesn't matter if Rittenhouse is found guilty or not as he has "already won" with regards to how he will be seen.
"If he is freed, the status quo of America's flawed criminal justice system, in which white offenders are less likely to be convicted, can remain just a little bit longer, the inevitable merely delayed, if not denied," Bailey said.
"If he's imprisoned, those sympathetic to his plight have even more reason to use him as an example of how their way of life could be threatened if they don't fight, and hard. His supporters have basically guaranteed those outcomes."
Protesters trace route Rittenhouse took in Kenosha .
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Several dozen people gathered below the wind-whipped Wisconsin flag at Kenosha's Civic Center Park on Sunday and warmed up with chants for justice before taking to the streets in protest of the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Demonstrators traced the route Rittenhouse took the night in August last year when he shot and killed two people and wounded a third during protests over police brutality. They carried signs that said “Reject Racist Vigilante Terror” and “THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS GUILTY!” A couple of protesters carried long guns.