NewsKyle Rittenhouse Trial

Actions

Day 1 of Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Opening statements, first witnesses take the stand

Kenosha Protests Shootings
Posted at 12:47 PM, Nov 02, 2021

KENOSHA — 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.

Kenosha Protests Shootings
Kyle Rittenhouse defense attorneys Mark Richards and Corey Chirafisi talk before the start of Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Mark Hertzberg /Pool Photo via AP)

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.

Kenosha Protests Shootings
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger presents opening statements to the jury during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)

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.

Kenosha Protests Shootings
Judge Bruce Schroeder speaks to the attorneys before the jury is let into the room for Kyle Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

"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.

Follow live updates from the courtroom by visiting a special page on the TMJ4 website, dedicated to the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip

Latest tweets from courtroom reporter Stephanie Haines: