KENOSHA — Day three of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse wrapped up shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday.
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.