The jury in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse will retire to consider their verdict on Tuesday at 9am, as the city of Kenosha braced for protests ahead of the verdict.
Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and other counts for killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz on August 25, 2020.
On Tuesday deliberations will begin in the case that has stirred fierce debate in the U.S. over guns, vigilantism and law and order.
The jury has not been sequestered.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is seen in court on Monday. On Tuesday the jury will retire to deliberate and try and reach agreement on the verdict
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard are seen on Monday, 60 miles from Kenosha, on standby
The National Guard will remain outside Kenosha unless there is violent unrest following the verdict
Authorities in Kenosha insist that they are prepared for every eventuality
A boarded-up business is seen with a sign paying tribute to Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back by a police officer but survived. His shooting sparked the riots
Downtown Kenosha displayed messages in support of Jacob Blake on Monday
The city of Kenosha was boarded up on Monday, as the city braced for protests following the verdict
Eighteen jurors have been hearing the case; the 12 who will decide Rittenhouse’s fate and the six who will be designated alternates will be determined by drawing numbers from a lottery drum.
On Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder told the jury to ignore ‘everyone’s opinion’ – including that of President Joe Biden, who labelled Rittenhouse a white supremacist, and Donald Trump, who has described Rittenhouse as someone who acted in self defense.
When the shooting stopped, Rittenhouse walked off like a ‘hero in a Western,’ a prosecutor said in closing arguments on Monday.
But Rittenhouse’s lawyer countered that the shooting started after the young man was ambushed by a ‘crazy person’ that night and feared his gun was going to be wrested away and used to kill him.
The governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has called up 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard, to counter expected protest.
‘We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe,’ Evers stated.
‘The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing,’ Evers said.
‘I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.’
Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said they are monitoring the trial and are working with local and federal authorities to ensure the ‘safety of our communities.’
Defense attorney Mark Richards began closing statements Monday afternoon claiming Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger ‘lied to the jury’s faces’
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told the jury Rittenhouse was looking for the ‘thrill’ of telling people what to do, ‘running around with an AR-15’ with ‘neither the honor nor the legal right to do so’. Binger held Rittenhouse’s AR-15 aloft as he spoke, pointing it on the corner of the court.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (left), 36, with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on August 25, 2020. Moments later, as Rittenhouse was running down a street, he shot and killed Anthony Huber (right), 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin
‘We recognize that there are varying opinions and feelings that revolve around the trial that may cause concerns,’ the two agencies said.
On Monday the courthouse saw demonstrators calling for Rittenhouse’s conviction, and supporters demanding his acquittal.
Protesters carried signs that read, ‘Know justice know peace,’ ‘Self-defense is not a crime,’ and ‘Racism kills.’
Their chants could be heard inside the courthouse.
Among them were Mark and Patricia McCloskey – the Missouri couple who hit the headlines when they stood outside their St Louis mansion armed with guns as Black Lives Matter protesters passed last summer.
Mark McCloskey is now running for the U.S. Senate, hoping to represent Missouri.
‘We feel for Mr Rittenhouse,’ Mark McCloskey told Fox News. ‘We feel he acted in self-defense.
‘We think he’s been politically prosecuted, as were we, and we’re hoping that the jury find him not guilty on all counts and that he can go home a free man.
‘Rittenhouse is a young man.
‘He was doing the best he could to help his country and to save businesses up here in Kenosha, and as his reward, he’s having the rest of his life threatened.’
Residents of Kenosha were braced for unrest.
‘No matter which way the verdict goes, somebody is going to be upset,’ said Lyna Postuchow, owner of A Summer’s Garden, a floral shop.
She told NBC News: ‘You always have to be ready because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but we hope cooler minds prevail.’
The McCloskeys show their support: Gun-toting couple arrive outside Kenosha courthouse to back Rittenhouse who they claim has been ‘politically prosecuted’
Mark McCloskey, a 64-year-old personal injury lawyer, and his wife Patricia were among the Rittenhouse supporters outside court on Monday.
The pair made national headlines when, on June 28, 2020, they brandished their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters walking past their St Louis house.
In June they each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge – her for harassment, him for fourth-degree assault – and agreed to pay a total of nearly $3,000 in fines. The couple, both lawyers, also agreed to give up the guns they had brandished in the confrontation.
A little over a month later, they were pardoned by the Republican governor, Mike Parson.
Patricia and Mark Thomas McCloskey in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on the day of closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial
Mark McCloskey, a 64-year-old personal injury lawyer, and his wife Patricia were among the Rittenhouse supporters outside court on Monday
The pair made national headlines when, on June 28, 2020, they brandished their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters walking past their St Louis house
Mark McCloskey is currently running for a U.S. Senate seat, representing Missouri.
On Monday they were in Kenosha to show their support for Rittenhouse.
‘We feel for Mr. Rittenhouse,’ Mark McCloskey told Fox News.
‘We feel he acted in self-defense. We think he’s been politically prosecuted, as were we, and we’re hoping that the jury find him not guilty on all counts and that he can go home a free man,’ he added.
Last summer saw her shop smashed during the violent unrest following Blake’s shooting, and $10,000 worth of damage was done.
‘Nobody wants a repeat of last summer. Those were not Kenosha people. That’s not who caused us damage,’ Postuchow said.
Gus Harris, owner of Flex & Burn Fitness Center, said he plans to board up his gym like he did in the summer of 2020.
‘Obviously, we’re concerned. Definitely,’ he told NBC.
Some were waiting to see which way the jury went, and how the crowd reacted, before deciding whether to board up their stores.
Mike Lampos, owner of the downtown bar Fec’s Place, said: ‘Our city is on the line. Either way, you’re going to have people who are unhappy. Only half will be happy about the outcome. The other half are the people who are coming,’ to possibly damage businesses, he said.
‘I wouldn’t say I’m not concerned, but I’m not as worried as I was. I’m not boarding up,’ he continued. ‘Well, if this were to turn into something we had last year and buildings are burning, I’ve got my boards ready. I could board up in an hour.’
Anne Benson, owner of Oliver’s Bakery, agreed.
‘Do I have my boards? Yes, I do.
‘Do I want to put them up? No, I don’t,’ she said, speaking to NBC affiliate TJM4.
‘I’m not sure what’s going to happen. All I’m going to do is stay positive.’
John Fox, a 61-year-old Kenosha resident who lived near the scene of the 2020 protests and previously represented the business district as an alderman, said he was deeply worried.
A shopping mall in Downtown Kenosha is seen boarded up, with a Banksy-style design on the board
Kenosha was quiet on Sunday, ahead of the week when deliberations would begin. Mike Lampos, who own’s Fec’s Place (pictured) said he was not intending on boarding up his business but was ready in case it was necessary
Buildings are seen boarded up around the courthouse on Monday, ahead of potential unrest
Signs on a business beg potential rioters not to set fire to the building
‘I am feeling, oh gosh, I am feeling hopeful that nothing gets out of hand no matter how the verdict comes in,’ Fox, who has since retired, told The Daily Beast.
He said last year’s unrest was ‘three days of destruction and death.’
Rittenhouse’s mother says he was being ‘chased by a mob’ and is now being treated for PTSD
Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother has defended him shooting and killing two BLM protesters last summer, saying it was either their lives or her teenage son’s who was being ‘chased by a mob’.
In an interview with NBC Nightly News on Sunday, Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy said she believes her son – who sobbed on the witness stand – did a ‘good job’ giving evidence.
She said he is being treated for PTSD and that she is standing by him, claiming he would be dead if he hadn’t brought his AR-15 rifle to the riot last August.
‘A lot of people shouldn’t have been there. He brung that gun for protection and to this day, if he didn’t have that gun my son would have been dead.
‘He went down there to help. And he was chased by a mob,’ she said.
‘Wendy said she was ‘scared’ ahead of the verdict, and that she was a ‘nervous wreck’ when her son took the stand last week.
‘Twelve people have my son’s life in their hands. I will always stand by him,’ she said.
He added: ‘I just hope that people remain calm and don’t do any damage and don’t hurt each other.’
On Monday, Judge Schroeder dismissed a count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, a misdemeanor that had appeared to be among the likeliest of the charges to net a conviction. It carries by up to nine months in jail.
The defense argued that Wisconsin law has an exception related to the length of a weapon’s barrel. After prosecutors conceded Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, the judge threw out the charge.
Perhaps in recognition of weaknesses in their case, prosecutors asked the judge to let the jury consider several lesser charges if they acquit him on the original counts. Schroeder agreed to do so as he delivered some 36 pages of legal instructions to the jury.
In his instructions, the judge said that to accept Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense, the jury must find that he believed there was an unlawful threat to him and that the amount of force he used was reasonable and necessary.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger said Rittenhouse was a ‘wannabe soldier’ and was ‘looking for trouble that night.’ Binger repeatedly showed the jury drone video that he said depicted Rittenhouse pointing the AR-style weapon at demonstrators.
‘This is the provocation. This is what starts this incident,’ the prosecutor declared.
He told the jury: ‘You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one who brought the gun, when you are the one creating the danger, when you’re the one provoking other people.’
Defense attorney Mark Richards said that Binger ‘lied to the jury’s face’ in his closing statements, when he stood to address the court Monday afternoon.
‘This case is not a game. It’s my client’s life,’ said Richards.
‘We don’t play fast and loose with the facts, pretending that Mr Rosenbaum was citizen A, number one guy.
‘He was a bad man. He was there that night causing trouble. He was a rioter. And my client had to deal with him that night alone.’
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and other counts for killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.
Richards went on to accuse Binger of raising the notion that Rittenhouse had ‘provoked’ events as a desperate measure – brought in ‘when the case explodes in his face.’
Standing to face the jury he said bluntly, ‘Mr Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client and going to kill him and take his gun and carry out the threats he had made.’
Supporters of Rittenhouse were seen on Monday demonstrating outside the courthouse
Activists chanted loudly all day, and could be heard inside the courtroom
Rittenhouse’s critics were present in force, as were his supporters
Rittenhouse’s opponents were also making their feelings known on the steps of the courthouse
Activists who want to see Rittenhouse convicted, and describe the three people he shot – two fatally – as ‘heroes’, clashed on Monday with those who believe Rittenhouse acted in self-defense
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were outside the Kenosha courthouse on Monday, ahead of the jury retiring to consider their verdict. They said they wanted to show their support for Rittenhouse
Standing to rebut, Assistant District Attorney James Kraus reiterated Binger’s contention that Rittenhouse brought a gun to a fist fight.
‘Forget about provocation,’ he said, Rittenhouse had ‘size’ on Rosenbaum, ‘Punch him in the face, kick him in the testicles, knee him in the face, hit him with your gun.’ he said. ‘You don’t immediately get to shoot someone.
‘Anything else and [both] Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum are still alive.’
Prosecution’s star witness is a career criminal with a history of domestic abuse, prowling, trespass and burglary – but had charges DROPPED just six days before trial began and jury never learned of his past
The prosecution’s star witness in the Kyle Rittenhouse case had a criminal charge dismissed just six days before the trial’s start, meaning the jury had no insight into his extensive criminal record nor his history of lying to police, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was well aware of this when he paraded Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, the third man shot on the night of August 25, 2020, as a paragon of selfless virtue. He was a paramedic, the court heard, just there that evening to provide medical aid, as he claimed to have done at countless other protests across the country.
In fact, DailyMail.com has learned, he is a violent career criminal with a laundry list of prior offenses and convictions stretching back more than a decade.
Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in August 2020, and appeared as the prosecution’s star witness last week. He was the only one who survived being shot by Rittenhouse that night
These include domestic abuse, prowling, trespass, two DUIs, felony burglary and two charges of carrying a firearm while intoxicated – one of which took place when he was banned as a felon from carrying a firearm.
He also has a history of showing disdain for the law by lying to, and failing to co-operate with, police.
Grosskreutz is seen in bodycam footage being pulled over on October 6, 2020 – less than two months after being shot by Kyle Rittenhouse
DailyMail.com can reveal that less than ten days before he was shot by Rittenhouse, on August 16, 2020, Grosskreutz was arrested by West Allis Police and charged with prowling when he was caught videotaping personal police officer vehicles in the police department parking lot at 1am
But the Rittenhouse jury heard none of this.
Because just six days before he took the stand, Grosskreutz was before a judge himself at a hearing at which a pending DUI charge – a second offense that saw him three times over the legal limit – was dismissed on a technicality.
Grosskreutz’s attorney successfully filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence on the basis that the traffic stop from which it had been obtained had been unlawful.
Had Grosskreutz’s latest DUI charge not been dismissed in such a timely manner Rittenhouse’s defense would have been allowed to question him under oath about the fact that he was on bond and the nature of his offense.
The information would have severely damaged Grosskreutz’s credibility and eroded the wholesome image of a law-abiding citizen offered up by the prosecution.
Kraus insisted that, ‘it is not reasonable for any 17-year-old male to not try to defend himself with some other method.
He said that the notion that Rosenbaum had made to grab for his gun was ‘concocted’ to justify actions that, he said, simply were not justified.
He mocked the notion that Rosenbaum could have killed Rittenhouse with his bare hands ‘like a movie star.’
Kraus went onto describe Richard’s closing as ‘somewhat personal.’
He said, ‘If he wasn’t taking shots at Mr Binger it was gloating and boasting about his client’s kills.’
Kraus quickly waded into controversial territory when he turned to address the defense’s observation that the state could but had not brought the Ziminskis to the stand.
Joshua Ziminski fired a shot into the air moments before Rittehouse turned to shoot at Rosenbaum. He and his wife Kelly could arguably have provided important eye-witness testimony.
Kraus began, ‘Knows darn well that the Ziminskis are charged by my office and have a fifth amendment right.’
At this point Richards objected pointing out that the Ziminskis plural were not charged and therefore Mrs Ziminski has no such right.
Judge Schroeder asked the jury to leave while the court reporter looked back over just what had been said before sustaining Richard’s objection and bringing the jury back in.
But Kraus had barely started up again when Richards objected once more pointing out that none of this had been brough into evidence and that besides it was not true to suggest that Ziminski had no choice but to plead the Fifth for fear of incriminating himself.
Richards said, ‘They can grant immunity. They hold the keys to Mr Ziminski testifying or not testifying.’
Judge Schroeder addressed Kraus, ‘You’re making it sound that Mr Ziminski is unavailable because of his testimonial privilege but Mr Richards is asking if he should be allowed a rebuttal so that he can explain that that is somewhat under control of the DA.
‘At this point I’m just going to ask you to move on.’
Ultimately after more of the tense to and fro between attorneys and judge that has characterized this case Judge Schroeder concluded that he would simply tell the jury that either party could have called Kelly Ziminski.
Kraus had promised a brief rebuttal but spoke at length. He called the account that Rosenbaum threatened Rittenhouse, ‘concocted’ and dismissed the notion that Grosskreutz was a threat armed with a Glock as ‘preposterous.’
He circled back to Binger’s opening theme, that Rittenhouse was a ‘chaos tourist.’
He said, ‘We know that Mr Rittenhouse was going around that night trying to be a paramedic, a policeman and a firearm without having any real training.
‘He went around with his gun trying to intimidate people.
‘He’s a chaos tourist. He was there to see what was going on and act important, be a big deal.
‘And in the moment, some of that chaos comes back to him he cowardly shoots a man instead of fighting back.
‘That is not privileged. That is not reasonable. That is not what any reasonable person in his position would have done.’
As for Richard’s description of Huber’s skateboard as a, ‘deadly weapon,’ he said, ‘I supposed somebody better tell all the parents and Santa Claus who are planning on getting their kids one they’re getting them a deadly weapon.
‘I guess they’d better get an AR-15 instead. It’s ridiculous.’
He said that Rittenhouse’s motivation was simple. He wanted to ‘stay in the action’ and ‘continue to do things that made him feel big and important.’
He said, ‘He could have run he could have fought…he did not exhaust all options.
‘Killing a man because you don’t want to defend yourself. That’s the definition of reckless homicide right there.
‘And if you’re shooting an AR-15 at close range at people you have no regard for human life.’
Kraus began to wind up, ‘It is not up to Mr Rittenhouse to be the judge the jury and eventually the executioner.
There’s a lot going on in this case. We all know that. We all knew that from the day we walked in.’
He said, ‘This verdict should be about what the facts are and what Mr Rittenhouse did. That’s what the 12 of you who go to deliberate will decide. You are the fact finders. You decide.’
He concluded, ‘The only imminent threat that night was Mr Rittenhouse. He was not acting in legal self-defense. He’s guilty.’
Immediately after Judge Schroeder uttered the solemn words, ‘Members of the jury the time has come when the great burden of reaching a just fair and conscious decision in this case will be placed with you jurors.’
He reminded them that this power is handed to them and them alone.
He said, ‘I charge you to keep your duty steadfastly in mind and to as upright citizens to return just and true verdicts.’
The jury will return to the court at 9am tomorrow morning when six of their names will be drawn from a tumbler and they will be ‘held in reserve’ and not join deliberations which will then begin.
Earlier in the day, Richards had decimated the state’s ‘star witness’ Gaige Grosskreutz.
He asked, ‘If he’s just your average complaining witness why did he get a lawyer?’
‘He didn’t have a valid Conceal Carry permit. He lies to police. He says he dropped his gun going down the street. That’s what’s called obstructing.
‘Most people when you lie to the cops you get in a little big of trouble,’ Richards said,.
He continued, ‘Not Mr. Grosskreutz because he’s their star witness: bought, paid for and protected by the state.’
Richards said Grosskreutz completely misrepresented himself and his motivations that night. Richards said, ‘We know what his intent was. We know what he was going to do and Kyle shot first.
‘Grosskreutz decides he’s going to shoot my client. Unfortunately [for him] my client shot him first. If he’d retreated it’s over.’
In a thinly veiled allusion to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the incident that sparked the nights of violence during which the Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz, Richards said, ‘Four shots in three quarters of a second…he’s backing up shooting and he shoots until the threat [is gone].
‘Ladies and gentlemen other people in this community have shot somebody seven times and it’s been found to be okay.’
No charges were brought in connection with the police shooting.
Richards decimated the prosecution’s ‘star witness’ Gaige Grosskreutz, saying he is ‘bought, paid for and protected by the state’
Richards said Grosskreutz’s completely misrepresented himself and his motivations that night. ‘We know what his intent was. We know what he was going to do and Kyle shot first.’ Images of Grosskreutz’s injuries on the night of the riot were shown to the jury on Monday
The jury sat rapt as Richards spoke, studying the images and video that he showed, their attention never wavering despite the long day.
Richards worked through each count in turn. Of Daily Caller Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss he said, ‘As a witness I think he helped us more than hurt us.’
Indeed, McGinniss upended the state’s case when he testified, as an eye-witness, that Rosenbaum, ‘lunged’ for Rittenhouse’s gun and would not be dissuaded from that assessment.
Richards pointed out, ‘My client is not responsible for endangering him when he runs into danger. His [self-defense] privilege has to count to Mr. McGinnniss.’
Where Binger had sought to paint Huber a ‘hero’ Richards described him as a ‘rioter,’ helping Rosenbaum push a lit dumpster into the road, ‘pointing his middle finger at the police.’
He said that the state wanted them to consider Rittenhouse an ‘active shooter’ because of the loaded connotations of that term but that he was nothing of the sort.
He said, ‘Kyle was a 17-year-old kid out there trying to help the community. He was asked to help provide security and he did it. He offered to provide aid.
‘Mr. Binger wants to poo-poo his sincere attempt to provide aid…but [Kyle was] willing to do that.’
He told the court, ‘Kyle was not an active shooter. That is a buzz word that the state wants to latch onto because it excuses the actions of that mob.’
Kyle Rittenhouse is seen with his AR-15 patrolling the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin on the night he killed two men and injured a third
Turning his attention to Grosskreutz, Binger characterized him as a person who ‘could have aimed and fired [his own gun] but he did not’. Rittenhouse is seen on the ground before shooting Grosskreutz
Binger minimized every attack on Rittenhouse dismissing the notion that he could truly believe himself under threat.
But Richards doubled down on the reality of the danger. He pointed to the first assailant who Binger said, ‘knocked off Kyle’s hat.’
He said, ‘I don’t think he was trying to steal Mr. Rittenhouse’s hat. I think he was trying to take his head off.’
Next came Huber – ‘swinging at him’ with his skateboard for the first time. Then ‘jump-kick man,’ who may not have grievously injured Rittenhouse, Richards said, but actual harm is not the legal standard by which the jury must weigh self-defense.
Soon after, Huber came in for a second time, ‘trying to take [Rittenhouse’s] head off and his other hand goes grabbing for the gun.’
As for Grosskreutz, Richards, gave him short shrift. He pointed out that he had ’10million reasons to lie’ – a reference to the civil suit currently being brought by Grosskreutz. In the complaint he claims he was ‘shot for no reason’ and fails to mention that he was armed with a Glock.
Criticizing the ‘shoddy investigation’ and ‘rush to judgement’ from the DA Richards reminded the jury that police had a warrant to search Grosskreutz’s phone but never executed it. Grosskreutz would not give permission.
‘What was Mr. Grosskreutz afraid of? ‘ Richards asked. ‘Why wouldn’t the state execute [the warrant]?’
He accused prosecutors of ‘protecting Mr. Grosskreutz’ because he had something to hide and repeated the fact that Grosskreutz had, ’10million reasons to lie.’
In stark contrast, he said, they had volunteered Rittenhouse’s cell and offered up the code to unlock it. He said, ‘Because my client has nothing to hide.’
Characterizing the thoughts of DA’s office Richards mocked, ‘No we’re not going to reassess, we’re going to march forward, we’re going to throw it into the hands of 12 people from the city and let them do this case for us’
According to Richards, any red herrings in this case have all been from the state. They include lengthy questioning that dwelled on the type of ammunition used by Rittenhouse that night – questions that Rittenhouse himself could barely answer, professing himself no expert.
Richards said, ‘Full metal jackets, hollow points…bullets are bullets. At close range and close contact, they wreak havoc on the human body, and they kill people.
‘He knows Kyle’s not a member of the militia. There’s no evidence. They went to the websites; they went to his Tik Tok and all they found was a 17-year-old kid trying to be famous.’
He said, ‘My client shot Joseph Rosenbaum and I’m glad he shot him. Because if Joseph Rosenbaum had gotten that gun I don’t for a minute believe he wouldn’t have used it on someone else.
‘He was irrational, and he was crazy.’
These are the facts, he said, but according to Richards the Assistant DA has, ‘made it his personal goal to put my client’s head on his wall and it means he’s been cutting corners.’
Warming to his theme, Richards said, ‘Rush to judgment you bet. Highly charged atmosphere? You live here, you know.’
Referring to the DA’s office he said, ‘They had to do something. They had to charge the white supremist who isn’t a white supremist.’
He continued, ‘They’ve never reassessed their case. They’ve never looked at it.’
Characterizing the thoughts of DA’s office he mocked, ‘No we’re not going to reassess, we’re going to march forward, we’re going to throw it into the hands of 12 people from the city and let them do this case for us.’
According to Richards, ‘This is a political case. The DA’s office is marching forward with this because they need somebody to be responsible.
‘They need someone to say, ‘He’s the person who brought terror to Kenosha.’
‘Kyle Rittenhouse is not that individual.’
There was not one person with an AR-15, but many, Richards said, but, ‘Kyle Rittenhouse was alone He had been taken from the herd and Mr. Rosenbaum and Mr. Ziminski were going to get him.’
The jury sat rapt as Richards spoke, studying the images and video that he showed, their attention never wavering despite the long day
Richards said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the case. There was no threatening behavior that started this.
‘Mr. Rosenbaum was hell bent on causing trouble. He did what he did and he started it. There are tragic parts of it but Kyle Rittenhouse’s behavior was protected under the law of self-defense.
‘There was no evidence that he was an active shooter other than Mr. Binger calling him that and there is no evidence that any of the individuals were attacking an active shooter.
‘And if they want to be the heroes they’d better be right and they weren’t.
‘Kyle Rittenhouse shot Mr. Rosenbaum because he was attacking Kyle. Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle. One with a skateboard, one with his hands, one with his feet and one with a gun.’
He added that Rosenbaum might have been little but, ‘he could take a 17-year-old kid nine times till Tuesday.’
Richards concluded, ‘There are no winners in this case but putting Kyle Rittenhouse down for something he was privileged to do will serve no purpose. I ask you to do justice here.’
What charges does Kyle Rittenhouse face?
Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them and wounding the third, during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. Rittenhouse has argued that he fired in self-defense after the men attacked him.
Here’s a look at the charges that prosecutors carried into court, as well as lesser charges that the judge could put before the jury in final instructions:
COUNT 1: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESS HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This felony charge is connected to the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot. Bystander video shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse through a parking lot and throwing a plastic bag at him. Rittenhouse flees behind a car and Rosenbaum follows. Video introduced at trial showed Rittenhouse wheeling around and firing as Rosenbaum chased him. Richie McGinniss, a reporter who was trailing Rittenhouse, testified that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse’s gun.
Reckless homicide differs from intentional homicide in that prosecutors aren’t alleging Rittenhouse intended to murder Rosenbaum. Instead, they’re alleging Rittenhouse caused Rosenbaum’s death in circumstances showing an utter disregard for human life.
Former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said prosecutors’ decision to charge reckless instead of intentional homicide shows they don’t know what happened between Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum and what might have been going through Rittenhouse’s mind when he pulled the trigger.
The charge is punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The dangerous weapon modifier carries an additional five years.
Prosecutors asked Judge Bruce Schroeder to let the jury also consider a lesser charge, second-degree reckless homicide, that does not require a finding that Rittenhouse acted with utter disregard for human life. It’s punishable by up to 25 years in prison. But after Rittenhouse’s attorneys objected, Schroeder said he did not plan to give that instruction. He said he expected that a guilty verdict on that count would be overturned because the defense objected to adding it.
COUNT 2: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This felony charge is connected to the Rosenbaum shooting. McGinniss told investigators he was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum. The charge is punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier carries an additional five years.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to let the jury consider a second-degree version of this charge. The difference is that the second-degree version doesn’t require a finding that Rittenhouse acted with utter disregard for human life. Schroeder said he was inclined to allow that instruction, though he didn’t make a final ruling. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
COUNT 3: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
Video shows an unknown man leaping at Rittenhouse and trying to kick him seconds before Anthony Huber moves his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appears to fire two rounds at the man but apparently misses as the man runs away.
This charge is a felony punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier again would add up to five more years.
Schroeder said he would decline prosecutors’ request that jurors be allowed to consider this charge in the second degree.
COUNT 4: FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This charge is connected to Huber’s death. Video shows Rittenhouse running down the street after shooting Rosenbaum when he falls to the street. Huber leaps at him and swings a skateboard at his head and neck and tries to grab Rittenhouse’s gun before Rittenhouse fires. The criminal complaint alleges Rittenhouse aimed the weapon at Huber.
Intentional homicide means just that – a person killed someone and meant to do it. Bucher said that if Rittenhouse pointed the gun at Huber and pulled the trigger that would amount to intentional homicide. However, self-defense would trump the charge.
‘Why I intended to kill this individual makes the difference,’ Bucher said.
The count carries a mandatory life sentence. The weapons modifier would add up to five years.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to give the jury the option of second-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and second-degree reckless homicide in Huber’s death. The defense objected only to the second-degree reckless homicide charge, and Schroeder said he ’embraced’ that argument.
Second-degree intentional homicide is a fallback charge when a defendant believed he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that it was necessary to use force – but either belief was unreasonable. It’s punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
The first-degree reckless homicide charge sought in Huber’s death matches an original charge in Rosenbaum’s death – it would require jurors to decide that Rittenhouse caused Huber’s death with an utter disregard for human life – and is punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
COUNT 5: ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This is the charge for Rittenhouse shooting Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm seconds after he shot Huber, and as Grosskreutz came toward him holding a pistol. Grosskreutz survived. Video shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at Grosskreutz and firing a single round.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years. The weapons modifier would add up to five more years.
Prosecutors asked that the jury be allowed to consider lesser counts in the Grosskreutz shooting: second-degree attempted intentional homicide, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree reckless endangerment. Defense attorneys didn’t oppose the first, but did oppose adding the reckless endangerment counts. Schroeder didn’t rule but said he was inclined to side with prosecutors.
The possible punishment for attempted second-degree intentional homicide is 30 years.
DISMISSED – COUNT 6: POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18
Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. He was 17 years old on the night of the shootings. Wisconsin law prohibits minors from possessing firearms except for hunting. It was not clear on Friday what Schroeder intends to tell jurors about that charge.
The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months behind bars.
Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed count 6 from Rittenhouse’s rap sheet Monday morning.
COUNT 7: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH AN EMERGENCY ORDER FROM STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Rittenhouse was charged with being out on the streets after an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by the city, a minor offense that carries a fine of up to $200. Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge during the second week of trial after the defense argued that prosecutors hadn’t offered enough evidence to prove it
This comes after the prosecution’s closing arguments earlier in the day where Binger told the jury Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha ‘expecting and anticipating violence’ on the night of August 25, 2020.
He se said Rittenhouse was looking for the ‘thrill’ of telling people what to do, ‘running around with an AR-15’ with ‘neither the honor nor the legal right to do so’.
Urging the jury to ‘keep an open mind,’ he said, ‘In America it’s hard these days. There’s polarization, but this is not a political case and there’s common ground here.
‘I asked you at the beginning of this to raise your hand if you think human life is more important than property.
‘We can also agree that no one person’s life is more important than another. All life is sacred.’
Now that they have heard all the testimony and all the evidence, Binger told the jury, ‘It’s time to search for the truth.’
In a chilling moment Binger moved to ‘re-enact’ what he claimed was visible on blurry drone footage, controversially brought before the jury.
According to Binger, Rittenhouse can be seen placing down the fire extinguisher he was carrying, pausing and raising his gun – pointing it at an unseen person off screen.
Binger, held Rittenhouse’s AR-15 aloft, as he spoke, pointing it on the corner of the court.
This, he said, was the moment Rittenhouse ‘lost the right to self-defense’ and ‘provoked’ the violence that followed.
Binger had promised that he would be replaying many of the video exhibits from the night and so he did – pointing out the narrative on which the State has insisted. It is a story in which Rittenhouse is the agitator, the aggressor, the one making the calls and taking the shots.
Binger showed the jury ‘the defendant murdering Joseph Rosenbaum from three different angles:’ videographer Drew Hernandez’s video, drone footage and FBI surveillance footage.
He contended that at best this was a ‘fist fight.’ Rosenbaum was unarmed.
Binger said, ‘What you don’t do is you don’t bring a gun to a fist fight.’
Demonstrators could be heard outside the courtroom as Binger rose to continue his closing statement Monday afternoon
On Sunday, buildings around Kenosha were boarded up in anticipation of a violent response if Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted, and Governor Tony Evers has ordered 500 Nation Guard troops on standby
He dismissed Rittenhouse’s claim that Rosenbaum was trying to take his gun and use it on him or other as ‘cockamamie’
He said, ‘You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one bringing the gun.’
In an odd moment of grandstanding Binger told the court to ignore talk of Joshua Ziminski – a man whom he has repeatedly referenced during the trial and the one who fired a shot moments before Rittenhouse turned and shot Rosenbaum.
Now Binger said he planned to ‘carve Ziminski out of this case,’ he was ‘a red herring.’
He added, ‘I’ll deal with him at his arson trial in January.’
Where the defense has made much of the speed at which events happened – all four shots were fired within 0.76 seconds – Binger said that the ferocious pace made Rittenhouse more culpable.
He said, ‘He doesn’t get a pass by pulling the trigger fast. He could have stopped after the first shot.’
Instead, he said, he ‘tracks Mr. Rosenbaum’s body down,’ shooting as he fell.
He said, ‘No-one else made him do it.’
Binger’s voice rose, shrill as he said that the only way the jury could find self-defense was, ‘If you believe that Joseph Rosenbaum was reaching for the defendant’s gun.
‘And that a reasonable person in the defendant’s position, with the AR-15 strapped to his chest, would think that Joseph Rosenbaum was even capable of taking the gun away, as he’s falling to the ground with a fractured pelvis.
‘And then that Joseph Rosenbaum was going to turn the gun around and kill the defendant. And other people.
‘You’d have to find all of those things.’
For the first time during the entire trial demonstrators could be heard outside the courtroom as Binger rose to continue his closing statement Monday afternoon.
Several onlookers in court turned towards the windows, puzzled by the commotion. But it was not possible to make out what was being shouted below and the court’s view was blocked by heavy blinds.
Attorney Thomas Binger enters the courtroom at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Monday
Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed count 6 from Rittenhouse’s rap sheet – illegal possession of a firearm
As he continued his closing statements Binger sought to paint two of the men shot by Rittenhouse as ‘heroes’ and to dismiss the notion that Rosenbaum was ever any sort of threat, describing him as nothing but a ‘little dog.’
‘Bark, bark, bark!,’ he said, ‘He really ain’t going to do anything.’
Showing close-up and graphic images of Grosskreutz’s shredded bicep Binger said,’ ‘It’s hard to look at but this is what we’re dealing with. When you fire an AR-15.
‘I guarantee you the defendant had no clue what his gun was capable of, he didn’t concern himself what he would be doing to other people.
‘Let’s not flinch away from this it’s important we understand what that gun was capable of that night. It killed two people and it did this to Mr. Grosskreutz’s arm.’
The way Binger told it Rittenhouse, ‘should have known’ that pointing his gun as someone else would have ‘provoked’ Rosenbaum.
He ‘should have known,’ the crowd was aware of the fact he had just shot someone. And he ‘should have known’ that they believed him to be an ‘active shooter’
According to Binger, ‘That crowd did something that honesty I’m not sure I’d have the courage to do.
‘Anthony Huber was different, ‘jump-kick man’ was different, Gaige Grosskreutz was different.’
According to Binger, ‘That crowd was full of heroes.’ Huber was a’ hero’ and Grosskreutz too – both men, he insisted, were acting within their own right to defend themselves as they tried to, ‘stop an active shooter from shooting others.’
The defense will state their closing arguments following Binger’s statements Monday. Mark Richards, defense attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, is seen pacing the courtroom
In contrast, he said, Rittenhouse was ‘a fraud,’ falsely claiming to be a certified EMT. He was, ‘like a quack doctor practicing without a license,’ and putting lives at risk.
He wrapped a sprained ankle, helped someone with a cut on their hand. Binger mocked, ‘Yay.’
And on the other hand, he killed two people and shot another. Binger snapped, ‘When we balance your role as a medic that night…I don’t give you any credit.’
He dismissed Rittenhouse and lionized Grosskreutz, saying, ‘For him to call himself a medic is an insult to anyone like Gaige Grosskreutz who spent hundreds of hours training to become an EMT.’
Binger described him as a ‘hero,’ who ‘rushed into danger,’ and he told the jury that Grosskreutz never pointed his gun at Rittenhouse, despite Grosskreutz’s own testimony that he did.
He told the court that Grosskreutz could well have pulled the trigger of his own gun and shot Rittenhouse, but that he didn’t – ‘because he’s not that type of person.’
And he had harsh words for Rittenhouse’s witness stand performance Wednesday. He said, ‘When he testified on Wednesday, he broke down crying about himself not about anyone he hurt that night, no remorse.’
Rittenhouse and the other ‘vigilantes’ who gathered in Kenosha that night were, Binger said, ‘Just wannabe soldiers, acting tough. Just a small part of the deluge of chaos tourists trying to feed off what we were going through, despite everything we did to try to tell them to go away, stay out.’
Binger mocked the ‘threat’ presented by Rosenbaum that night. ‘What did he do?’ he said, ‘He tipped over a porta-potty that had no-one in it. He swung a chain. He set an empty trailer on fire. He said some bad words. He said the N-word.’
He said, ‘I’d probably try to prosecute him for arson, but I can’t because the defendant killed him. That’s the way we deal with arson. We prosecute you. We don’t execute them.’
Binger said he would be the voice for Rosenbaum because he wasn’t there to speak for himself. The picture he painted was far from flattering in its bid to minimize any threat that he night have presented.
At 5ft 4, Binger said Rosenbaum had ‘Napoleon complex.’ He was a ‘babbling idiot.’
He said that the crowd were ‘shoving him around like a rag doll,’ and that he was, ‘a mouthy little guy…a little dog.’
According to Binger, the jury was there to decide facts, ‘not to buy pathetic excuses.’
He said, ‘If you panic that’s not reasonable. That is an excuse. And if you’re 17, you don’t have experience…you’re in over you head…those are excuses.
‘They do not erase your personal responsibility for your own actions.’
In fact, Binger insisted, none of the people whom Rittenhouse shot, ‘posed an imminent threat to the defendant’s life or to cause great bodily harm.’
‘Put yourself in the defendant’s position,’ he told them. ‘Would you have made any of the reckless decisions he did? Would have you done the same thing?
‘Would you have gone out after curfew with an AR-15 looking for trouble? Would you have used the gun to protect an empty car-lot?
‘No reasonable person would have done these things. The defendant provoked everything.’
Wrapping up a closing statement, that lasted two hours and eight minutes, Binger concluded that there was no doubt that Rittenhouse had committed the crimes.
He said, ‘The question is whether or not you believe his actions were legally justified.
‘I submit to you that no reasonable person would have done what the defendant did and that makes your decision easy.
‘He is guilty of all counts.’
Earlier Monday morning, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed count 6 from Rittenhouse’s rap sheet – illegal possession of a firearm
In the latest blow to the beleaguered prosecution, Judge Schroeder dropped the charge after the defense successfully argued that it is illegal for anyone under 18 to carry a ‘short-barreled rifle’ – a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches – but it is legal to carry a longer rifle in Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shootings and the prosecution was forced to concede that the AR-15 carried by Rittenhouse on August 25, 2020 was more than 16 inches, which is of legal length.
‘Well then,’ Judge Schroeder stated, ‘Count six is dismissed.’
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Binger was set up for failure!’ Kenosha DA knew the case against Kyle Rittenhouse was a losing proposition and passed the buck to Thomas Binger whose presentation has been marked with missteps and clashes with the judge
The choice of prosecutor for Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder case could be a precise pointer as to how little confidence the County District Attorney had in securing a conviction.
Mike Graveley, the Kenosha County DA would normally have taken the case himself, but instead handed it down to prosecutor Thomas Binger, whose presentation of the case in Wisconsin has been marked with missteps and clashes with Judge Bruce Schroeder.
‘Binger was set up for failure,’ one Kenosha legal insider told DailyMail.com. ‘Graveley is the superstar and he knew this one was sure to tarnish it.’
According to conservative outlet Milwaukee Right Now, Graveley ‘pawned the case off to his unfortunate assistant district attorney, Thomas Binger, who was left to spin gold out of a pile of self-defense straw.’
Now court observers believe that even if Rittenhouse is found guilty, Binger’s performance has given him good grounds for appeal.
‘He has said things in court that have been ruled out of order, but once they have been said, you can’t unring that bell,’ Kevin Mathewson, a criminal defense investigator and former Kenosha City alderman told DailyMail.com.
‘This is how Binger has always operated. He pushes the envelope as far as he possibly can — but this time the whole world is watching him.’
Binger, 51, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School is no rookie. He has been an assistant DA in Kenosha County since 2014, and first prosecuted cases in Milwaukee County back in 1999
Binger’s presentation of the case in Wisconsin has been marked with missteps and clashes with Judge Bruce Schroeder
Mathewson, who was unsuccessfully sued over a Facebook page in which he asked for people to turn up with guns to defend property during the August 2020 Kenosha riots, has been a frequent critic of Graveley’s office.
But he says he respects the DA’s prosecuting skills. ‘He is by far the best prosecutor in the office and he should be the one prosecuting the Rittenhouse trial — the most high-profile and difficult case his office is ever likely to handle.
‘It’s not that he hides from publicity. Earlier this year he prosecuted a teenager called Martice Fuller who killed his high school sweetheart and shot at her mother.
‘That was a high-profile case, but it wasn’t a difficult case to prosecute,’ added Mathewson. ‘There was video of the shooting.
‘Just about any prosecutor could have got a conviction.’
Mathewson is not the only one who is hammering Graveley for his absence from the Rittenhouse case. Graveley himself said he would not lead the prosecution as he was investigating the case against the cop who shot Joseph Blake, leading to the unrest in Kenosha during which Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
Gravely — who was named Wisconsin’s prosecutor of the year earlier this month — decided way back in January that the officer should not be prosecuted for the shooting which left Blake paralyzed. The DA also said he has to prosecute another case which will likely start before the Rittenhouse case is over.
But those excuses are getting short shrift from some, who believe Rittenhouse either should never have been prosecuted or should have faced lesser charges.
‘It’s time to put DA Mike Graveley’s picture on a milk carton,’ wrote Milwaukee Right Now.
Graveley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Binger has at times seemed out of his depth as Judge Schroeder and Rittenhouse’s defense team tear into him for a series of missteps.
Former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Daniel Adams described Binger’s case as ‘incredibly underwhelming.’
‘He’s got nothing,’ Adams told the Associated Press. ‘I just don’t understand it. What are we doing here? We’re all kind of scratching our heads.’
Binger, 51, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School is no rookie. He has been an assistant DA in Kenosha County since 2014, and first prosecuted cases in Milwaukee County back in 1999.
On his LinkedIn page the father-of-three says: ‘I was a criminal prosecutor handling misdemeanor and felony cases, including illegal firearms cases. I also handled child welfare cases, specializing in termination of parental rights cases.’
Mike Graveley, the Kenosha County DA, would normally have taken the case himself, but instead handed it down to prosecutor Thomas Binger. ‘It’s time to put DA Mike Graveley’s picture on a milk carton,’ wrote Milwaukee Right Now
After six years prosecuting, he went into private practice as director of litigation for a business law firm before joining the Kenosha County DA’s office.
He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the post of District Attorney in neighboring Racine County in 2016, saying: ‘In the last two years as a prosecutor, I have won 13 jury trials. I have convicted murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, drunk drivers, home-invading burglars and men who abuse women.’
One of the most notable cases he has previously prosecuted was of a former New Jersey fire captain who was jailed for five years in 2017 for possessing child pornography and exploiting a child for sexual purposes.
Binger insisted the sentence was not enough, telling Essex News Daily, ‘The state recommended 16 years.’
He was also forced to withdraw a case against Guy Smith, a trucker who was found with a gun in his cab. Smith’s defense attorney pointed out the law specifically allowed handguns in vehicles without a concealed carry permit, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The Smith case was also heard by Judge Schroeder.
But those cases had nothing like the media spotlight that has shone on the Rittenhouse case.
Binger’s role has been controversial since the start. He took the unusual step of objecting to the attempt by California attorney John Pierce to represent Rittenhouse, saying in a six-page motion to the court that Pierce’s presence could ‘materially prejudice’ the case.
He said Pierce’s ‘personal financial difficulties raise significant ethical concerns,’ adding: ‘Given his own substantial personal debts, his involvement with an unregulated and opaque ‘slush fund’ provides ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud
‘Money that should be held in trust for the defendant may instead be used to repay Attorney Pierce’s numerous creditors.’
Pierce, who claimed the case against Rittenhouse was a ‘political prosecution’ eventually withdrew, leaving the defense in the hands of lawyer Mark Richards.
Binger has continued to clash with Judge Schroeder throughout the trial and even in pre-trial hearings
Binger clashed with Schroeder in pre-trial hearings. Last month the judge ruled against him saying that the men shot by Rittenhouse could not be called ‘victims’ during the trial but allowed a defense motion which allows them to be called rioters, looters or arsonists.
Binger said those words were more loaded than ‘victims.’
The prosecutor also lost the chance to link Rittenhouse to the right-wing Proud Boys movement.
And Schroeder later slammed him after he argued that defense lawyers should not be able to tell jurors about the destructive actions of Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the men Rittenhouse admits killing, including setting a dumpster on fire.
‘All we’re talking about is arson. We’re talking about being loud and disorderly,’ Binger said.
Schroeder immediately cut him off. ‘I can’t believe some of what you’re saying,’ he said in a raised voice. ‘All we’re talking about is arson? Come on!’
During this month’s trial, Schroeder reprimanded Binger for bringing up a video in which Rittenhouse had talked about wanting to shoot shoplifters. Schroeder had previously ruled that inadmissible
‘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,’ Schroeder asked.
Binger replied: ‘You can yell at me if you want. I was acting in good faith.’
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.’
Rittenhouse’s defense accused Binger of knowingly attempting to throw the proceeding because they were going badly for the state.
The defense on November 10 demanded a mistrial with prejudice, which would mean that Rittenhouse walks free and a retrial is not possible. Schroeder said he is taking that request under advisement.