KENOSHA, Wis. — The jury in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse will begin deliberations Tuesday morning after a full day of closing arguments and jury instructions on Monday.
Closing arguments began Monday morning, and prior to that, the judge read lengthy instructions to the jury on how to apply the law to this case during deliberation.
Those instructions now apply to five charges instead of six. Before the jury was brought into the courtroom Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the sole misdemeanor charge against Kyle Rittenhouse, a charge of possession of a dangerous weapon.
The prosecution told the judge that they would not dispute that the size of the gun Rittenhouse had, fell within an exception in state law for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds in possession of certain-sized rifles. However, the prosecution said it plans to state during closing arguments that it's unlawful to point a weapon at someone.
Five felony charges remain, the most serious, first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Anthony Huber. On that count, the judge ruled that the jury will be allowed to consider two lesser charges of 2nd-degree intentional homicide or 1st-degree reckless homicide. Lesser charges can also be considered for the attempted 1st-degree intentional homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz. The lesser charge options are attempted 2nd-degree intentional homicide or 1st-degree reckless endangerment.
There will be no lesser charges for the jury to consider on the first-degree reckless homicide charge in the death of Joseph Rosenbaum and no additional options for the remaining counts — which are charges of recklessly endangering safety.
Rittenhouse's lawyers contend it was all in self defense.
“Kyle Rittenhouse shot Mr. Rosenbaum because he was attacking Kyle. Every person who was shot was attacking. One with a skateboard, one with his hands, one with his feet, one with a gun” said Defense Attorney Mark Richards.
The state sees it differently, arguing Rittenhouse’s use of force was unnecessary.
”When the defendant provokes the incident he looses the right to self defense. You cannot claim self defense against a danger you create” said Kenosha Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger.
In reading the instructions to the jury, Judge Schroeder reminded the group that they must make their decisions based solely on the evidence, saying, "You are the sole judges of the facts and I am the judge of the law only." On each count, the jury has been told to consider self-defense. The jury will also get written instructions.
There are 18 jurors right now. 12 will be selected at random to enter deliberation and decide the case.
Judge Schroeder has still not ruled on a motion for a mistrial from the defense. The judge acknowledged that on Monday morning and said he would rule on that at some point.
"This is a case in which a 17-year-old teenager killed two unarmed men and severely injured a third person with an AR-15 that did not belong to him," Binger said as he began his closing arguments.
"Mr. Rosenbaum was hell-bent on causing trouble that night, he did what he did, and he started this," defense attorney Mark Richards said as he wrapped up his closing arguments. "There are tragic parts of it, but Kyle Rittenhouse's behavior was protected under the law of the state of Wisconsin, the law of self-defense."
Judge has not whittled down the jury to 12. He says that will be done first thing tomorrow morning. Says those who are not selected will stay in the building in the event they are needed. @tmj4— Tom Durian (@TMJ4Tom) November 15, 2021
The jury will get to decide on lesser included charges in this case. This means they will have the option on some counts to find Rittenhouse guilty of a lesser crime. Judge Schroeder also dropped one charge against Ritenhouse. The possession of a dangerous weapon, only a misdemeanor was seen as most likely to garner a conviction.
The jury will be whittled down from 18 to 12 and six alternates when they resume Tuesday morning. The alternates, however, will remain in the building in case their services are needed.
Day 9 of Rittenhouse trial
Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse returned to the courthouse without the jury present on Friday to finalize how jurors will be instructed when they get the case next week and begin deliberating.
Prosecutors want the judge to include lesser charges in some of the six counts Rittenhouse faces. They say that's in case the jury finds evidence to vote to convict on a possibly a second-degree charge instead of a first-degree charge.
The defense made some objections.
It's up to Judge Bruce Schroeder to make the final decision in each of the instructions, which he indicated will happen over the weekend. He will read the instructions to the jury first thing Monday morning.
Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree reckless homicide of Joseph Rosenbaum, first-degree intentional homicide of Anthony Huber, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz. He also faces two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety of Richie McGinniss and another unidentified man, as well as a charge for possessing a gun under the age of 18.
Prosecutors also want the judge to include an instruction in which the jury must consider if Rittenhouse "provoked" behavior that led him to shoot. They say drone video shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at Rosenbaum in the moments leading up to the shooting.
The defense says there's not enough evidence for that, and Rittenhouse could be pointing it at someone else.
Judge Schroeder demanded to see the video.
Finally, Judge Schroeder spoke to Rittenhouse directly, asking if he understood what it means for the jury to consider lesser charges. Rittenhouse told the judge he understood.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers rested their case Thursday, putting on about 2 1/2 days of testimony to the prosecution’s five, with the most riveting moment coming when the 18-year-old told the jury that he was defending himself when he fatally shot two men and wounded a third on the streets of Kenosha in the summer of 2020. Jury instructions will be worked out on Friday, and closing arguments are expected on Monday.
Day 8 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
The defense rested its case at the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse on Thursday. Closing arguments will be held Monday.
Based on an earlier, tentative timeline, the judge hadn't expected deliberation would begin until Monday. Either way, before the case is handed over to the jury, a few things need to happen. First, the defense must finish laying out its case. Rittenhouse's legal team expects to call three more witnesses, all three began testifying on Thursday morning — day 8 of the trial.
Dr. John Black, the defense team's use-of-force expert, was the first to take the stand. Dr. Black has analyzed videos of the shootings. He hadn't been on the stand long when the prosecution objected to the line of questioning, claiming a pre-trial ruling limited Dr. black's testimony to specific subjects and that the defense was already moving outside of those topics.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger alleged the defense was adding new things at the last minute and told the judge, if the shoe were on the other foot, there would be a "kerfuffle."
"Is there something that I'm saying that draws the face you're making?" said Judge Schroeder to Binger. "Go ahead. Say what you have to say," the judge continued.
"I have to say, your honor, yesterday (Wednesday) I was the target of your ire for disregarding your orders. Today the defense is disregarding your order," responded Binger.
The judge sent the jury out of the courtroom for the discussion and ultimately decided that Dr. Black would be allowed to give testimony on the timing of all three shootings, but it would have to be without Dr. Black's own conclusions, and prosecutor Binger could object as he saw fit.
When court resumed, Dr. Black began showing the jury videos of the shootings at a very slow speed, frame by frame. He told the court the total time of all three shootings was 2 minutes and 55 seconds. A Kenosha police officer, Officer Brittni Bray, who collected evidence on the night of the shootings was the second witness called by the defense. Drew Hernandez was the third witness called by the defense. He identified himself to the court as a professional commentator on 'Real America's Voice' and reporter who was in Kenosha to document the riots on the night of the shootings.
Once the defense finishes calling witnesses then each side will make a closing argument. From there the judge will explain to the jury the rules of law that apply to the case and lay out the decisions jury members must make. At that point, deliberation would begin. There is no way to know how long deliberations might last.
The defense rested its case shortly after 3:30 p.m. Prosecutors asked the judge to allow for additional rebuttal witnesses to debunk some of Rittenhouse's testimony on the stand Wednesday.
RITTENHOUSE TRIAL::— Stephanie Haines (@TMJ4Stephanie) November 11, 2021
State indicates it will ask for lesser charges on the shootings of Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz in jury instructions.
Judge estimates those will take about 45 min to read to jury. He is asking for attorneys to keep their closing arguments to 90 min
Prosecutors had a short rebuttal case, calling one witness. They brought in an expert from the state crime lab to bolster the credibility of enhanced drone video of Rosenbaum shooting.
With the evidentiary part of the trial over, the jury was sent home for a three day weekend. Friday, the judge and attorneys will hammer out the details of Monday’s closing arguments and jury instructions. Both sides agreed they wanted to wait until Monday for the arguments, having the weekend to prepare. The judge has limited the time for closing arguments to two and a half hours per side.
Jury instructions are also expected to take at least an hour. That is where the state has said they will ask for “lesser included charges.” Lesser included charges allow the jury to find Rittenhouse guilty of a lesser charge which would carry with it a lower burden of proof and sentence. TMJ4 legal analysts say it is also a way for the jury to compromise and avoid a hung jury.
Under the current time frame laid out, the jury could get the case for deliberation as early as Monday afternoon.
Day 7 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
Defense attorneys at Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial say they will ask the judge to declare a mistrial after prosecutors posed what appeared to be improper questions of Rittenhouse on the stand.
Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule, saying he would give the prosecution a chance to respond. At issue were questions prosecutors about Rittenhouse protecting property and about his silence after his arrest.
Emotions were running high in the courtroom on Wednesday as the defense called Rittenhouse to recount the day when he killed two people and injured another. Rittenhouse and his attorneys are claiming self-defense.
At one point, when Rittenhouse broke down, Judge Bruce Schroeder paused his testimony and had the court take a 10-minute break. Rittenhouse's mother was visibly upset, watching her son appear distressed on the stand.
When court resumed Rittenhouse testified that he remembered Joseph Rosenbaum's hand being on the barrel of the gun that Rittenhouse was holding. After the shooting, Rittenhouse testified that he took off running toward police. When his lawyer asked why, Rittenhouse said, "Because I didn't do anything wrong, I defended myself."
As he was running Rittenhouse said that he was hit by Anthony Huber's skateboard and by a rock from an unknown source, before he stumbled and fell to the ground. Here's how Rittenhouse recounted what unfolded next:
"I'm on my back and Mr. Huber runs up. As I'm getting up he strikes me in the neck with his skateboard a second time," Rittenhouse told the court. "Then what happens?" prompted the defense attorney. Rittenhouse said, "He grabs my gun and I can feel it being pulled away from me." His lawyer responded,"What did you do then?" Rittenhouse said, "I fired one shot."
Rittenhouse then details his recollection of shooting Gaige Grosskreutz, "I lower my weapon and see Mr. Grosskreutz with his hands up, and as I'm lowering my weapon I look down and then Mr. Grosskreutz lunges at me with his pistol pointed directly at my head."
After he got to his feet, Rittenhouse told the court that he began walking toward the police line with the intent of turning himself into police, but was turned away. After returning to his mother's home in Antioch, Illinois he testified that he asked his mother to take him to the local police station, where Rittenhouse then turned himself in.
Almost as soon as cross-examination began it was halted, twice. Judge Bruce Schroeder had the jury exit the courtroom two separate times to scold Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger for his line of questioning. At one point, he even accused Binger of trying to force a mistrial. The judge took issue with Binger's questions about the defendant's right of silence and for references Binger was making to a video, not associated to the shootings, that the judge had previously said would not be allowed for use in court.
Raising his voice, Judge Schroeder said “I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant's post arrest silence. That is basic law, it has been in this country for 40 years 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.”
The judge allowed court to proceed after he very clearly told Binger that he didn't want to have another issue.
Both sides walked Rittenhouse through each individual shooting while he was on the stand. At one point Rittenhouse became so overcome with emotions he had to take a break. Once back on the stand, his defense attorneys continued their line of questioning where Rittenhouse categorized his actions as self defense. “He grabs my gun and I can feel it pulling away from me. I can feel the strap starting to come off my body” Rittenhouse said of Anthony Huber.
Prosecutors focused on Rittenhouse’s use of deadly force, asking why Rittenhouse pointed his AR-15 rifle at Rosenbaum if he didn’t intend on killing him.
“He was chasing me, I was alone. He threatened to kill me earlier in that night, I didn’t want to have to shoot him” said Rittenhouse.
The defendant’s testimony closed out the day. Defense attorneys say they plan to call three more witnesses, including a use of force expert. The state is likely to then offer a short rebuttal case before closing arguments can begin.
Day 6 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
First on the stand on Tuesday was James Armstrong with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. He specializes in forensic imaging. The state then called the medical examiner who wrote the autopsy reports for the men who Kyle Rittenhouse is accused of shooting and killing.
Dr. Doug Kelley, a medical examiner in Milwaukee County, authored the autopsy reports for Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber — the two men shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse.
Dr. Kelley testified that in his role he looks for evidence of trauma and disease, collects evidence if necessary, and takes photographs to determine a cause of death. He testified that Huber died from a gunshot wound to the chest. When it came to Rosenbaum, Dr. Kelley testified that he found several injuries consistent with gunshot wounds, and in his medical opinion, the shot that killed Rosenbaum was a shot to the back. But, Dr. Kelley told the court that an autopsy alone will not tell you which bullets struck first.
"If trying to determine some kind of order of gunshots, obviously the autopsy itself is not going to allow us to do that," explained Dr. Kelley. "We can use the injuries and the details about those injuries to help us, but the autopsy alone is not going to allow you to do that. And it's also not going to allow you to know what position the person was in when they were shot."
Rittenhouse, for his part, looked uncomfortable during some parts of the morning, averting his eyes when photos detailing the autopsies were being shown to the court.
Dr. Kelley also reviewed the same video that the jury saw, that showed part of the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum. With the knowledge of that video and his autopsy findings, Dr. Kelley was pressed by both the prosecution and defense on what position Rosenbaum might have been in when the fatal shot struck him. Was Rosenbaum lunging towards Rittenhouse? Or was he falling after being shot by Rittenhouse? Dr. Kelley testified it could have been either.
The court broke for lunch around 11:45 am CST. The prosecution has indicated they plan to rest its case when court resumes Tuesday afternoon.
Drone video played Tuesday for jurors also showed the moment that Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person killed during a night of turbulent protests on the streets of Kenosha.
The video was zoomed in and slowed down by a forensic imaging specialist at the state crime lab. It shows Rosenbaum following Rittenhouse before Rittenhouse suddenly spins around and fires at him at close range.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he traveled to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to safeguard property from the sometimes-violent demonstrations that broke out over the shooting of a Black man by a white Kenosha police officer. He faces life in prison on the most serious charge.
Prosecutors showed the jury drone video they said they just got last Friday in which it shows the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum. A state crime lab analyst slowed the video down and zoomed in.
Prosecutors then called medical examiner Dr. Doug Kelley to the witness stand. He testified Anthony Huber died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
He testified Rosenbaum was shot four times—he believes first in the hip and then the left hand. The last two shots he believes are a graze wound to the head and a fatal shot to the back, which he says happened when Rosenbaum was horizontal or moving forward in some way.
The defense and prosecution differ on why Rosenbaum would have been in that motion. The defense asked if Rosenbaum could have been lunging forward or if he could have grabbed the barrel of the gun with his left hand. Prosecutors asked if Rosenbaum could have been falling forward after being shot in the hip. Dr. Kelley testified both are possible.
The prosecution announced it rests its case just after the jury came back from lunch. That's when Judge Schroeder told the jury the curfew violation charge against Rittenhouse has been dropped.
The defense called its first witness to the stand, Nicholas Smith. Smith testified he previously worked for Car Source, the business people were out defending that night, from 2018 to 2019. Smith says one of the owners called him.
"He calls me in the morning of the 25th asking if I could provide assistance to watch over the building later in that night," Smith testified.
This contradicts what the owner's son said on the witness stand last week when he testified he didn't ask anyone for help.
Smith testified he asked Dominick Black, Rittenhouse's friend, for a ride earlier that day, and he said he borrowed Rittenhouse's body armor. Smith also said he didn't bring a gun that night because he felt it wasn't necessary, in part because other people he was with were armed.
Smith testified he stationed himself on the roof of one of the Car Source businesses. At some point he heard one of the shootings. He describes meeting up with Rittenhouse afterwards.
"He repeats, I just shot someone, over and over, and I believe he did say he had to shoot someone," Smith testified.
He said he told Rittenhouse to turn himself in to police.
Day 5 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
Gaige Grosskreutz, the third and final man shot by Rittenhouse during a night of turbulent racial-justice protests in the summer of 2020, took the stand at Rittenhouse’s murder trial Monday. He recounted under cross examination how he drew his own pistol and pointed it at Rittenhouse just before he was shot. Rittenhouse contends he was acting in self defense. He faces life in prison on the most serious charge.
Grosskreutz began his testimony by detailing the training he'd completed to serve as an EMT and paramedic and told the court he'd been at many demonstrations during the summer of 2020, serving as a medic.
In Kenosha, on the night of Aug. 25, 2020 Grosskreutz was streaming live on Facebook. He testified that he heard gunshots, then saw people running and yelling for a medic. He told the court he ran toward the noise — and that's when he came across Kyle Rittenhouse.
Grosskreutz, who was armed and behind the camera, can be heard asking Rittenhouse, "Hey, what are you doing? You shot somebody? Who is shot? Who is shot?"
Grosskreutz testified that he chose to continue heading the same direction as Rittenhouse because he thought there was a potential for someone to be injured and his medic skills would be needed.
The court continued to watch clips of the live-stream video which, a short time later, showed Rittenhouse shoot Anthony Huber, and then turn the AR-15 on Grosskreutz, who can be seen holding his hands up. Seconds later, he is shot. Grosskreutz testified that he thought he was going to die and believed the best way to avoid death was to try and wrestle the weapon away from Rittenhouse.
"In that moment I felt that I had to do something to try and stop myself from being killed. So I decided that the best course of action would be to close the distance," said Grosskreutz as he narrated his actions for the court. Grosskreutz testified that he had his pistol in one hand and his cellphone in the other. "I do know though I was never trying to kill the defendant, it was never something that I was trying to do, in that moment I was trying to preserve my own life."
The prosecution asked Grosskreutz why he didn't use his own gun, to shoot first. Grosskreutz told the court, "That's not who I am" and said up until that point, he'd spent his time, money, and education providing care for people.
During the initial phase of cross-examination, the defense asked whether or not Grosskreutz felt Rittenhouse was in danger of being hurt, prior to the shooting. The defense also displayed a picture of Rittenhouse and Grosskreutz as the shooting happened. Grosskreutz agreed that the photo, which depicts his bicep exploding from the impact of being shot, showed the pistol Grosskreutz was holding was pointed toward Rittenhouse.
Grosskreutz was shot in the right arm and said as a result, he lost a large part of his bicep. Rittenhouse appeared stoic as graphic photos and videos of Grosskreutz's injuries were shown to the court.
With Grosskreutz on the stand, the prosecution is close to wrapping up its case. Jurors have already heard testimony from people who were with Kyle Rittenhouse on the night of the shootings and from law enforcement officers and loved ones of the men who died.
Grosskreutz testified he was in Kenosha that night serving as a medic.
Prosecutors showed video they say Grosskreutz was filming that night. In it prosecutors say you can hear Grosskreutz talking to Rittenhouse in the moments after Joseph Rosenbaum was shot.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Grosskreutz says in the video. "You shot somebody? Who's shot?"
Grosskreutz testified he tried to find Rosenbaum to help him, but then he said he turned around.
"I started hearing people say, he just shot that guy, he just shot somebody," Grosskreutz testified.
He said at some point he grabbed his gun, and came within feet of Rittenhouse, but testified he was never trying to kill him.
"Why didn't you take your own gun and shoot the defendant first?" Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked.
"Like I said, that's not the kind of person that I am," Grosskreutz testified.
Defense attorneys pressed Grosskreutz on his statements to police about his gun—why he first told them his gun fell out of his waistband, and where he pointed his gun and when.
"When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?" Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi asked.
"Correct," Grosskreutz responded.
"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?" Chirafisi asked.
"Correct," Grosskreutz said.
Grosskreutz was shot in the right arm. He testified he lost part of his bicep and feeling in part of his arm down to his fingers.
Day 4 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
Day four of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial opened with the dismissal of another juror. Judge Bruce Schroeder said a pregnant juror was having some discomfort and she asked to be dismissed. The judge granted that request. 18 jurors, 10 women and 8 men, remain.
Wisconsin veteran Jason Lackowski was first to take the stand Friday morning. He told the court that he was in Kenosha to help protect businesses, specifically Car Source lots, and that his plan was to "shout, shove, show (as in display a weapon) and shoot."
He testified that while guarding the properties he never had to do anything beyond shout. Lackowski also testified that he came across Joseph Rosenbaum, a man who was shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse.
"What did you think of him?" asked Thomas Binger, the Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney. "A babbling idiot," responded Lackowski. "Did you consider him (Rosenbaum) a threat?" continued Binger. Lackowski responded that he did not. "Did you feel that he posed any danger to you or anyone else?" asked Binger. "No," said Lackowski.
Lackowski told the court that later he heard gunshots and followed the sound. While on the move, Lackowski told the court he came across Kyle Rittenhouse, who Lackoswki described as frazzled and shocked. Lackowski also testified that they spoke, but needed to look at a transcript of an interview he'd given to the FBI, before he was able to recall the conversation in court.
"When the defendant spoke to you he said he didn't shoot anyone?" asked Binger. "Correct," responded Lackowski. "But he said he needed help?" continued Binger. "Yes," was the response from Lackowski. "What did you tell him?" asked Binger. "I told him to run to the police," said Lackowski.
During cross-examination, the defense pressed Lackowski about his recollection of that conversation. Kyle Rittenhouse's defense attorney Corey Chirafisi posed this question to the court, "The statement that makes more sense is -- I did shoot somebody and I need help, right? Why would he need help if he didn't shoot someone, right?"
Chirafisi asked Lackowski, "How certain are you that in fact, he didn't say, I did shoot someone and I need help verses I didn't shoot someone but I need help?"
"I don't honestly recall," responded Lackowski.
Lackowski testified that he followed Rittenhouse until he heard gunshots behind him and then, "blacked out."
"I remember being on the sidewalk and then there was an individual on the ground screaming," recalled Lackowski. "I had walked up to them with a group of individuals. Someone was screaming for a tourniquet, I believe." The person on the ground was Gaige Grosskreutz. Lackowski says he applied the tourniquet and stayed with Grosskreutz until police showed up.
The prosecution also called Amber Rasmussen to the stand. She analyzes DNA for the state crime lab. Rasmussen testified that she analyzed DNA profiles from swabs taken from parts of a firearm — swabs of trigger, barrel guard pistol grip and magazine. She told the court she found strong support for Rittenhouse's DNA on each. She also said the profiles of Huber and Rosenbaum are either excluded or the lab wouldn't make a ruling on it because there wasn't enough of a DNA sample present.
During cross-examination, the defense pointed out that Rasmussen was sent swabs, not the actual weapon. She testified that whether or not there is DNA to test — doesn't mean someone couldn't have touched the gun.
Before breaking for lunch, Susan Hughes, Anthony Huber’s great aunt, took the stand.
Hughes testified how Huber loved to skateboard, and that he had just turned 26 a few days before the shooting.
Next, the state called Rosenbaum's fiance, Kariann Swart, to the witness stand. She testified Rosenbaum had just come home from a hospital in Milwaukee the afternoon of Aug. 25, 2020, and she said he was taking antidepressants and medication for bipolar disorder.
Swart testified she got a call from the medical examiner around 4 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2020, and she said she saw video of the shooting on Facebook.
"I broke down," Swart said. "I can't get that image out of my head."
Prosecutors called brothers Sahil and Sam Khindri to the witness stand. They say their father owns the Car Source businesses in Kenosha.
As attorneys pressed them, the brothers both testified they did not ask anyone to defend their properties that night. One testified he did not know it was going on until after the shootings.
The state called several Kenosha Police officers to the stand. One was on patrol the night of the shootings. He testified many people were armed that night. When he and his partner passed Rittenhouse after the shootings, he did not know Rittenhouse was the shooter. Instead, he said his partner pepper sprayed him.
Day 3 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
During proceedings on Thursday, a witness at Rittenhouse's murder trial says the first man shot on the streets of Kenosha seemed to “lunge” toward Rittenhouse’s gun just before Rittenhouse fired. Jamie McGinniss is a video director for the conservative website The Daily Caller, who followed as protester Joseph Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse.
He said Rosenbaum was lunging toward Rittenhouse and his momentum was moving forward when he was shot. The lead prosecutor kept pressing McGinniss about whether Rosenbaum was actually falling when he was shot, as McGinniss said in a media interview days after the shooting.
The judge did dismiss one juror for saying a joke about Jacob Blake, the man shot and injured by a Kenosha police officer last summer. The shooting sparked the protests during which Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and injured a third person.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said he understands the juror said, “why did Kenosha Police shoot Jacob Blake 7 times? They ran out of bullets.”
Binger says this shows racial bias. There are now 19 jurors.
"The public needs to be confident this is a fair trial," Judge Schroeder says. He says the joke was "at the very least, bad judgment."
Also on Thursday, a detective says that someone in the crowd fired a shot into the air just 2 1/2 seconds before Rittenhouse began shooting on the streets of Kenosha. The defense has said that shot made Rittenhouse think he was under attack.
At the time, Rittenhouse was being chased by Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man he shot and killed. Video took center stage again Thursday in the Illinois man’s trial in the shootings of three men — two fatally — after Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha in August 2020 with a medical kit and a rifle in what he said was an effort to safeguard property from damaging riots.
Day 2 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
On Wednesday, jurors heard from a witness who recorded and streamed video from the scene the night of the shootings. Much of the evidence in this trial is going to center around video.
As he did on Tuesday, prosecution witness Koerri Washington took jurors to the scene of the shootings on Aug. 25, 2020 by narrating and answering questions about the live video stream he recorded that night.
Kenosha County Assistant D.A. Thomas Binger took the court through specific moments in the video — pointing out Kyle Rittenhouse, Joseph Rosenbaum, and some others. Washington's live stream captured the sound of a first shot that went into the air. It was fired by a man named Joshua Ziminski who was there that night. The video also captures the sound of the shooting of Rosenbaum.
During cross-examination, Washington testified that he noticed Rittenhouse that night because of his young age and the fact that he was wearing gloves and smoking cigarettes. "Not saying that I felt like oh, this is a guy that's going go around and mow a bunch of people down or anything like that," said Washington. "I was just like -- oh, that's interesting. Let me take a note of that."
Rittenhouse, dressed in a suit in court, looked attentive as he took notes and spoke with his lawyers. It's still unclear if Rittenhouse will take the stand in his own defense, later in the trial.
Another on the stand Wednesday— Kenosha Police Detective Martin Howard—helped walk the jury through each of the moments prosecutors wanted to point out.
Detective Howard testified when he was assigned to investigate the shootings, he started searching the internet for any video that may have captured them.
Prosecutors showed videos to the jury which they say depicted the shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz.
The state also showed a video it says was filmed by Daily Caller reporter Richie McGinnis as he interviewed Rittenhouse before the shootings took place. In that video Rittenhouse tells McGinnis after he asks why Rittenhouse was out that night, "People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business..."
A reporter in the courtroom told TMJ4 News the jury seemed "riveted" watching the videos and kept "their eyes glued" to the screens.
The jury saw another video prosecutors say McGinnis filmed which shows Rittenhouse shouting, "Anyone need medical?"
The defense team objected to the audio of one of the videos in which the person filming refers to people he sees as "militia." The defense said that was editorializing.
Judge Bruce Schroeder sent the jury out of the room as attorneys debated the objection. The judge seemed to agree with the defense, and he eventually allowed the state to show parts of that video. Judge Schroeder pointed out the pressure of this trial and how critical weighing each piece of evidence is.
"So anything that undermines public confidence in what happens here is very important," Judge Schroeder said. "It's important for this town, it's important for this country to have people have confidence in the result of this trial."
Day 1 of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
In Day 1 of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the defense and prosecution delivered opening statements and the sides heard from their first witnesses.
Before the jury entered the courtroom Tuesday morning, the defense team asked Judge Bruce Schroeder for an update on a motion to drop the gun charge against Kyle Rittenhouse, claiming there is a loophole for 17 year olds. Judge Schroeder said he ultimately wasn't ready to rule on that yet and after a few more procedural legal discussions, the jury was sworn in and received instructions from the judge.
"You are to decide this case solely on the evidence offered and received at this trial," he told the 20 jurors inside the courtroom.
The state presented an opening statement first, acknowledging that hundreds of people experienced or took part in the protests and unrest in Kenosha but Rittenhouse, they say, set himself apart with his actions.
"Out of the hundreds of people that come to Kenosha during that week, the hundreds of people that were out on the streets that week, the evidence will show that the only person who killed anyone was the defendant — Kyle Rittenhouse," said the Kenosha County Asst. District Attorney, Thomas Binger, while he pointed across the courtroom toward Rittenhouse.
The defense began to prepare to begin its own opening statement, but the state objected to a plan by Rittenhouse's legal team to show the court dozens of photos and videos. The state told the judge it was unusual, it would take too long, and that an opening statement should be a summary of the evidence, not the evidence itself. But Judge Schroeder allowed it, saying the photos and videos appear to be relevant and authentic.
"We have two very different outlooks on the events of August 25, 2020," began Mark Richards, Kyle Rittenhouse's lead attorney.
Richards also indicated that Rittenhouse himself may testify, as he told the court, "You'll hear testimony, not just from Mr. Rittenhouse..."
The state called its first witness to the stand, Dominick Black, Tuesday afternoon. Black faces charges for buying the alleged gun in this case.
Black testified he and Rittenhouse agreed to help protect car lot businesses in downtown Kenosha on August 25, 2020. He testified he and Rittenhouse were separated at some point during the night, and he testified about when he first met back up with Rittenhouse after the shootings.
"He was freaking out, he was really scared, pale, sweating a lot," Black testified. "You could tell he was just scared."
"Did he say anything?" Binger asked.
"He wasn't really talking, he just said he had to do it, it was self-defense, people were trying to hurt him," Black said.
Black testified Rittenhouse took the gun from Black's stepfather's home without permission. During cross examination, defense attorneys asked why Black didn't stop Rittenhouse from brining his gun downtown that night.
"He walks out of the house with an AR-15, and you don't say boo, correct?" defense attorney Mark Richards said.
"I didn't say anything, correct," Black replied.
"If you wanted to object, you could have said something to Kyle," Richards said.
"Yes, I could have," Black responded.
Prosecutors called two more witnesses to the stand after Black, including an FBI agent and a social media influencer who lives in Kenosha.
During opening statements Defense attorneys alluded to the fact that Kyle Rittenhouse himself may take the witness stand during the trial which is expected to last 2 weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.