- Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand Wednesday to testify in his own defense on Day 7 of his murder trial
- The defense has demanded a mistrial with prejudice, meaning Kyle Rittenhouse could not be tried again and would get off scot-free for the the two murders in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020
- Judge Bruce Schroeder sent out the jury for a second time and shouted down Prosecutor Thomas Binger
- Binger sought to bring information before the jury that the judge had already ruled out of proceedings
- Binger had begun to question Rittenhouse about a TikTok post that he had made in which he expressed a desire to have his AR-15 to shoot people
- Rising to object, Mark Richards said, ‘The prosecutor is clearly attempting to provoke a mistrial. He’s an experienced attorney and he knows better’
- Judge Schroeder began yelling at Binger, ‘Don’t get brazen with me!’
- Furious, he concluded with a stern warning to Binger, ‘I don’t want to have another issue as long as this case continues is that clear?’
- Rittenhouse broke down on the witness stand as he recalled the moment he was ‘ambushed’ by Joseph Rosenbaum the night he shot him dead
- Rittenhouse told the court that Rosembaum threatened to kill him twice once while swinging a heavy chain and the second time when he said he would ‘cut out your f***ing heart’ and ‘kill you N-word’
The judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has continued to reprimand the prosecutor in court as the defense demands a mistrial with prejudice.
If the judge rules in the defense’s favor, Kyle Rittenhouse could not be tried again and would get off scot-free for the two murders in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020.
Corey Chirafisi informed Judge Bruce Schroeder that the defense plans to move for a mistrial on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct following a morning of high drama in Kenosha County Courthouse.
He went on to accuse Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger of knowingly attempting to throw over the proceedings because they were going badly for the state.
He explained, ‘Normally a mistrial does not preclude a retrial [unless] a defendant’s motion is necessitated by a prosecutorial impropriety designed to avoid an acquittal.’
He continued, ‘What has happened is two times the state commented on Mr. Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent.
‘The first time he was admonished by the court. The second time the judge had the jury leave and he was re-admonished.’
Before Rittenhouse took the stand Wednesday morning the judge had doubled down on an earlier decision in which he excluded evidence that the teen had commented online about wishing he had his AR-15 so that he could shoot shoplifters.
But despite this decision – and its reiteration – Binger brought the information up during his cross examination, a move that sparked a furious response from the judge.
Chirafisi continued that to move for a mistrial with prejudice, ‘The prosecutor’s actions must be intentional…[with] an awareness that his activity would be prejudicial.
‘You had warned him. You had told him prior to Mr. Rittenshouse testifying,’ Chirafisi said. ‘You had warned him about the infringement of his constitutional right to remain silent. He did it again.
‘The second one says that the prosecutor’s actions was designed to allow another chance to convict, to provoke a mistrial to get another kick at the cat because the first trial is going badly.’
Binger asked for more time to consider his response but his efforts only brought more ire from the bench as he sought to claim that he had brought information in good faith.
Judge Schroeder shot him down, ‘You’re an experienced trial attorney and you’re telling me when the judge says, ‘I’m excluding this’ you decide to bring it in because you think you’ve found a way around it. Come on!’
Binger continued, ‘You can yell at me if you want…I was acting in good faith.’
To which Judge Schroeder responded, ‘I don’t believe you. When you say you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe you.
‘There better not be another incident.’
Binger then pushed to be able to use a photograph in which Rittenhouse posed up alongside patrons of a bar shortly after his initial court appearance and wearing a T-shirt with the slogan, ‘Free As F***’
Binger argued that it spoke to a lack of remorse and respect for human life.
Chirafisi objected strongly saying it showed no such thing, that there was no relevance and nothing had changed to open the door on the evidence.
Judge Schroeder appeared to agree. He said, ‘If he were on trial for exquisitely poor judgment, if he were on trial for behaving in a very offensive way I could see the purpose.
‘But an incident that occurs four months after the incident in question…?
‘Everybody in all of humanity at one time displays bad judgment, sometimes exquisitely so we don’t let it into people’s trials.’
The judge concluded, ‘I’ve ruled before it’s not admissible and I don’t want to waste anymore time on it.’
He said he will take the defense’s motion for a mistrial with prejudice under advisement.
Earlier in the day Judge Schroeder sent out the jury for a second time and shouted down Thomas Binger after he sought to bring information before the jury that the judge had already ruled out of proceedings.
Binger had begun to question Rittenhouse about a TikTok post that he had made earlier in August in which he expressed a desire to have his AR-15 to shoot people.
Rising to object, Mark Richards said, ‘The prosecutor is clearly attempting to provoke a mistrial. He’s an experienced attorney and he knows better.’
Binger claimed that he thought the door had been ‘left open.’
Yelling and clearly irate, Judge Schroeder said ‘Open for me! Not you! Why would you think that made it okay for you to, without any notice, bring the matter before the jury?’
As Binger kicked back, Judge Schroder exploded, ‘Don’t get brazen with me you know very well that an attorney can’t go into these areas when a judge had already ruled without going into it out of the presence of the jury before doing so. So don’t give me that.
‘It isn’t coming in no matter what you think.’
It is the second time that the judge has halted the cross-examination in a morning of extraordinary courtroom drama.
He told Binger, ‘I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post arrest silence.
‘I have no idea why you would do something like that. I don’t know what you’re up to.’
Now, the judge said, ‘I have to be concerned about the progress of the trial when you were over the line and close to and over the line on commenting on the defendant’s pre-trial silence which is a well known rule.’
Furious he concluded with a stern warning to Binger, ‘I don’t want to have another issue as long as this case continues is that clear?’
The cross examination was previously halted almost before it began as Judge Schroeder accused Binger of being ‘right on the borderline’ of ‘a grave constitutional violation.’
The dramatic moment came as Binger stood to cross examine Rittenhouse and began to suggest that he was ‘tailoring his story’ to fit the facts and accounts he had ‘had the benefit’ of hearing during the prior days of testimony.
Rittenhouse had already denied that he had ‘intended to kill’ any of the men he shot but that he intended to ‘stop the threat’ against him as he was being attacked.
Binger said, ‘This is first time you have told your story since August 25, 2020 isn’t it?
‘And you have had the benefit of seeing countless videos of your actions that night…and hearing the testimony of thirty-some witnesses who have testified in this case?’
Sustaining an objection by Mark Richards the judge dismissed the jury to reprimand Binger.
He said, ‘You are commenting on the defendant’s right to silence. This is a grave constitutional violation and you are right on the borderline of it in fact you may be over it. But it better stop.
‘This is not permitted.’
As the afternoon session continued, Binger returned to toil through cross-examination in which he sought to gain traction but seemed only to elicit information that aided the defense.
Attempting to cast doubt on Rittenhouse’s claims that he wanted to help and to put out fires Binger mocked, ‘Why did you feel the need to put out fires?’
Rittenhouse responded with the earnest, ‘To make sure my community didn’t get burned down and to help.’
Turning to Rittenhouse’s claim that he recognized Rosenbaum and felt threatened by him when he ‘ambushed’ him Binger asked, ‘So you were thinking this is the guy who threatened me?’
Rittenhouse responded, ‘I was thinking this is the guy who said if he catches me alone he’ll kill me as I’m running away from him.’
Binger pointed out that Rosenbaum had ‘changed his appearance’ – taking off a blue banana he had worn earlier that evening and wrapping his maroon T-shirt around his head.
‘How did you know this was the same guy?’ he asked of the distinctive figure as if Rosenbaum had somehow morphed out of all recognition.
Rittenhouse seemed bemused by the very question. He said, ‘His appearance, his shorts, his height. He was wearing the red shirt when he chased me around his head.’
As her son spoke softly and steadily, calm now after a morning of high emotion, Wendy Rittenhouse blinked slowly, sometimes holding her eyes closed for a long period of time – worn out by it all.
She pinched the bridge of her nose as if trying to ease a headache as she listened.
The jurors who had listened attentively to direct examination, taking notes, appeared to tire – some rubbing their eyes and fewer noting anything down.
Again and again Binger’s questions only served in their responses to remind jurors that Rittenhouse was in Kenosha that night to help put out fires and administer medical aid.
Again and again his questions underlined the image of Rosenbaum as an aggressor rather than a passive victim.
Binger said, ‘In that that entire evening he never touched your body.’
Rittenhouse replied, ‘He grabbed my gun when he attacked me.’
Binger circled back, ‘And that’s why I asked the question the way I did – he never touched your body,’ the point falling flat.
Binger repeatedly returned to the fact that Rittenhouse had chosen to bring his AR-15, presenting himself as a man perplexed as to why somebody who wasn’t anticipating trouble might do that. Rittenhouse said he brought the gun in case somebody hurt him.
He asked, ‘If you’re just trying to help people why would you think somebody was going to hurt you?’
Rittenhouse apparently without guile said, ‘I don’t know. Somebody did try to hurt me and I was trying to help people.’
Wednesday morning, Rittenhouse broke down on the witness stand as he recalled the moment he was ‘ambushed’ by Joseph Rosenbaum the night he shot him dead.
His mother Wendy watched on from the public gallery of Kenosha County Courthouse, weeping.
Rittenhouse had taken the stand in his own defense to tell the court that Rosembaum threatened to kill him twice – once while swinging a heavy chain and the second time when he said he would ‘cut out your f***ing heart’ and ‘kill you N-word.’
The teen recounted the events of the night and explained that he had gone to administer medical aid, armed with his rifle but not looking for trouble, when he found himself alone and cut off from the rest of the group with whom he had been earlier on the evening of August 25, 2020.
Questioned by his lead attorney Mark Richards, Rittenhouse said that he had been attempting to put out vehicles in one of three Car Source properties that he and his fellow so-called vigilantes were in downtown Kenosha to protect during the nights of civil unrest that followed the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake.
Armed with a fire extinguisher, his medical bag and his AR-15, he said, ‘I started running towards the Car Source number three to put out fires, pausing occasionally to catch my breath and walk.
‘As I’m walking I hear somebody scream, ‘Burn in Hell!’ and I replied with, ‘Friendly! Friendly! Friendly!’ Like I just want to put out the fires.
‘I noticed a flame in the back seat of a [vehicle] and I stepped towards [it] and as I’m stepping forward I believe his name is Joshua Ziminski steps towards me with a pistol in his hand.
‘I drop the fire extinguisher and step back. My plan is to get out of that situation and go back North to Sheridan Road.’
His emotion clearly rising Rittenhouse continued, ‘Once I take that step I look back over my shoulder and Mr. Rosenbaum was no running from my right side and there were people right there…’
At this point Rittenhouse’s testimony became unintelligible as he began sobbing in gulping breaths until the judge was forced to call a halt to proceedings and ushered the jury out.
Earlier Rittenhouse had appeared calm and spoken clearly told the court that he did not go to downtown Kenosha ‘looking for trouble’ and would not have shot Joseph Rosenbaum if he hadn’t, ‘chased after him and tried to take his fire-arm.’
He told the court that he was there to administer medical aid that evening and that during the evening he had bound a woman’s sprained ankle and tended to fellow vigilante Ryan Balch when he was affected by a chemical bomb – helping him with his breathing and to irrigate his eyes.
Rittenhouse is a trained lifeguard with some first aid training. He is currently studying nursing at the University of Arizona.
According to Rittenhouse he had gone into downtown Kenosha earlier that day to help clean graffiti off the side of Reuther Central High School. It was during the trip with his friend Dominick Black and sister McKenzie that he said he met the owners of local business Car Source – which has three locations in the small town.
Car Source owners Anmol ‘Sam’ and Sahil ‘Sal’ Khindri have both stated under oath that they did not ask anyone to protect their property though two defense witnesses and one witness for the state said that they did.
Today Rittenhouse told the court that not only did the business owners give permission for them to be there and ask for protection that night – which he had offered earlier in the day – Sal drove him, his friend Dominick Black and former Car Source worker Nick Smith to the particular property.
He said, ‘Sam and Sal thanked us for coming out to help and Sal said ‘Why don’t you guys hop in my car?’ He was going to drive us down to [another] Car Source lot.’
He said that he witnessed Sal give Nick Smith keys to the business – something which Khindri also denied under oath – and showed the men where ladders were kept so they could access the roof. Khindri also denied doing this.
He said, ‘He let us know where the power washers were and the hose hook ups. He showed Dominick Black and Nick Smith the two ladders that were there to get up on the roof.
‘I didn’t personally [use the ladders] but the people who were on the roof did.’
Before the jury were called in and ahead of his testimony Rittenhouse had sat, wide-eyed in the stand, assuring the judge that he felt all right, that his mind was clear, that he had not consumed alcohol or drugs and that he had decided that this was ‘a good thing to do under the circumstances.’
Attorney Mark Richards stood to confirm that he was acting on the advice of counsel.
Today deputies patrolled the courtroom ensuring that cell phones were put away and earlier a film crew was stopped attempting to film in the courthouse hallways.
Back on the stand after a brief break to compose himself Rittenhouse continued to narrate the events of the night – detailing how he was pursued and attacked first by Rosenbaum, then Huber and finally Grosskreutz.
He recalled that he felt trapped between Ziminiski and Rosenbaum and revealed that he had heard Ziminski tell Rosenbaum to, ‘Get him and kill him.’
He said that Rosenbaum threw something at him, he turned around but that it didn’t stop the other man who was running after him and gaining on him.
As he ran, Rittenhouse said, he heard a gun shot behind him, took a few steps and turned around to see that Rosenbaum was ‘about as far from me to where the judge is coming at me with his arms out in front of him.’
He said, ‘I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun.’
After he shot Rosenbaum he said, ‘I ran around to see if I could help Mr. Rosenbaum.
‘Mr. McGinniss tore off his helmet slammed it on the ground, took off his shirt. I don’t remember what he said, I was in shock.’
Rittenhouse said he called his friend Black and told him he had just shot somebody, that he had to shoot him.
He said, ‘I heard people say, ‘Get his ass.’ And thought the safest option was to reach the police line and turn himself but that as he tried to so do he was being chased ‘by a mob.’
He said, ‘People were screaming and saying, ‘Cranium him! Kill him!’
‘I didn’t do anything wrong I defended myself.’
He said that the next thing he remembered was Anthony Huber striking him on the head with a skateboard. He batted it away with his arm and continued on but, light-headed and in shock, he said, he stumbled and fell.
He told the court that as he was running he was hit twice on the head with some sort or rock.
According to Rittenhouse, ‘As I’m on the ground there are people around me. The last person, I don’t know his name [went to kick me]. As his face made contact with my face I fired two shots at him.
‘I thought he would stomp on my face if I didn’t.’
Neither shot hit the man known only as ‘jump-kick man’ in court.
Immediately after, he said, Huber came at him again – grabbing for his gun.
He said, ‘I can feel it pulling away from me and I can feel the strap coming off my body. I fire one shot.’
Struggling to get up he said he saw Grosskreutz coming towards him, initially with his hands up. He said that he lowered his weapon and looked down but, he added, ‘Mr Grosskreutz lunges at me with his pistol pointed directly at my head.’
He recalled, ‘He is standing – what I remember is our feet were touching
My rifle is down, his hands are up. His pistol is in his hand and then Mr Grosskreutz looks at me and that’s when Mr Grosskreutz brings his arm down…with me on the ground and his pistol is pointed at me and that’s when I shoot him. Once.’
Surrounded by chaos and potential threats he said, ‘I start walking towards the police line to turn myself into the police.
I run and walk, I put my hands up. I can’t really hear anything, my vision is very narrow. I see the flashing lights, I occasionally tried to move my rifle to put it behind me so the police didn’t see me as a threat.
‘I walk towards the window of the police cruiser and tell the officer, ‘I just shot somebody. I just shot somebody,’ and the officer says
‘Get the f*** back or you’re going to get pepper sprayed. Go home, go home, go home.’
Ultimately Rittenhouse was driven home by Dominick Black and then taken by his mother to Antioch Police Department, Illinois.
He said ‘I’m in shock I don’t really remember what was happening.
I was freaking out. I was just attacked my head was spinning.
‘The Kenosha police dept was barricaded off with a fence so I went to the nearest police department I knew of which was in Antioch by my house.’
As he sat waiting for officers to arrive from Kenosha to question him he said he was, ‘vomiting’ and having ‘panic attacks.’
In what has proved a brutal afternoon for the prosecution the judge prevented Binger from playing what the defense argued was enhanced or ‘altered’ video footage during cross examination.
Exasperated Binger insisted that all that he intended to do was ‘pinch and zoom’ on images and that this would not distort what was altered.
Judge Schroeder was not satisfied. He said, ‘I’ve got an objection in front of me now. [Mr Richards]is suggesting that amplifying the image is altering what is portrayed.
‘You’re giving me the defense that it’s no different from using a magnifying glass. I don’t believe that.
‘I do believe the [forensic imaging] expert testified that either he or the device inserted additional pixels into the image.
‘You’re the proponent and you need to assure me before I let the jury speculate on it that it is a reliable method that does not distort what is depicted.’
Pushing his luck on what has already been a bad day for the state Binger said, ‘So my understanding is we play it and sort it out later.’
The judge appeared aghast and said, ‘I did not say that. If I did then shame on me. I said before I’m going to allow this to be amplified in the way that you want it is going to have to be demonstrated to me that it is a [harmless] way to do it.’
Binger requested an adjournment to allow him time to do this before continuing his cross examination and was immediately shot down by the judge who said, ‘I’m not going to do that. Get right on it. Perhaps you can get an expert to speak to it in seconds.’
Gaige Grosskreutz’s former roommate told the court that he ‘made it all up’ when he claimed that Grosskreutz’s ‘only regret’ was ‘not killing’ Kyle Rittenhouse the night he was shot by the teen.
Jacob Marshall was the first witness called by Rittenhouse’s defense Wednesday morning and made the startling assertion under direct examination by Corey Chirafisi.
Marshall posted a picture on Facebook of himself with Grosskreutz in the hospital the day after he was shot in the hand by Rittenhouse.
The post, which he has since deleted, was displayed on large screens in court.
It showed the two men posing up alongside Marshall’s post, ‘I just talked to Gaige Grosskreutz. His only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him.’
Yet today Marshall said that he ‘100 percent lied’ when he wrote that post.
He said, ‘I made a bad remark. I was trying to stick up for my friend. He didn’t know what was going on.’
Chirafisi pointed out that he was not sticking up for Grosskreutz but ‘equating what he said.’
Marshall insisted, ‘Those words never came out of my friend’s mouth…It was bad judgement.’
He also denied deleting the post because he knew it would be bad for his friend’s credibility as a witness in these proceedings
Grosskreutz himself denied uttering the words when he was called as a witness for the state last week.
Yet under cross examination Grosskreutz’s testimony was severely undermined as it emerged that the trained paramedic, who had been painted as a non-partisan and peaceable by the state, had failed to mention that he was armed with a Glock, or that he was pointing it at Rittenhouse when he was shot, in either his police statement or two lawsuits which he has brought in relation to the case.