EXPLAINER: Does Kyle Rittenhouse need to testify?
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Defense attorneys typically encourage their clients to testify in self-defense cases. But Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial is anything but typical and it's still unclear whether the Illinois man will take the stand to explain to jurors what he was thinking when he shot three people during a protest in Wisconsin last year. Rittenhouse's attorney, Mark Richards, told the jury during opening statements last week that they would hear from Rittenhouse himself about how protesters were carrying rocks.
© Provided by People Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Kyle Rittenhouse on the stand Nov. 10, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisc.
Jurors embraced the claim that Kyle Rittenhouse was defending himself when he fatally shot two men and injured a third last year, clearing him of homicide Friday along with all related charges that included recklessly brandishing a dangerous weapon during a Black Lives Matter protest over police brutality in Kenosha, Wisc. © Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Kyle Rittenhouse on the stand Nov. 10, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisc.
Rittenhouse, now 18, killed Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, then 26, with an AR-style rifle that he carried from his home in Illinois across the state line to enter Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020, during unrest that followed the police shooting there of a Black man, Jacob Blake.
EXPLAINER: Did Rittenhouse lawyers do enough to prevail?
KENOSHA, Wisconsin (AP) — When Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand to testify about his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha — sobbing and seemingly unable to continue as he approached the critical moment where he shot the first man — it was one of the most compelling moments in his two-week murder trial. It might have been the most effective part of his three-day defense, too, potentially swaying any jurors inclined toward sympathy for the 18-year-old who has claimed self-defense in the shootings that left two of the men dead.
"I didn't do anything wrong," Rittenhouse testified on the stand. "I defended myself."
Prosecutors had charged him with six criminal counts ranging from first-degree intentional homicide to misdemeanor illegal firearms possession by a minor — although Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the latter charge just before closing arguments began on Monday, reports CBS Chicago. The defense had argued that Rittenhouse's rifle was not short-barreled, and therefore the charging statute did not apply.
Each of the two homicide charges carried a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison.
After the verdicts, lead prosecutor Thomas Binger said, "The jury has represented our community in this trial and has spoken," reports The New York Times.
Jury to begin deliberations at Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Jurors will begin deliberations Tuesday at Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial after two weeks of testimony in which prosecutors and defense attorneys painted starkly different pictures of his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha. Prosecutors claimed in closing arguments Monday that Rittenhouse was a “wannabe soldier” who provoked bloodshed by bringing a semi-automatic rifle to a protest and menacing others, then walking off like a “hero in a Western” after killing two men and wounding a third. © Provided by Associated Press A lone protester stands outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, late Monday, Nov.
Huber's parents Karen Bloom and John Huber, in an emailed statement to media that described them as "heartbroken and angry" over the acquittals, said: "Today's verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system."
Jurors who deliberated into a fourth day found Rittenhouse not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in Rosenbaum's death; not guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in Huber's death; and not guilty of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, which carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison, in the non-fatal shooting of Grosskreutz.
Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Jury still deliberating verdict as judge considers mistrial over drone video
Jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial were to deliberate for a third day while the judge considers a request from the defense for a mistrial. Your browser does not support this video A key piece of evidence in the prosecution's case — a drone video that shows Rittenhouse fatally shooting the first man he fired at on the night of Aug. 25, 2020 — was called into question Wednesday when Rittenhouse's defense lawyers said they received a lower quality version of the clip.
RELATED: Kyle Rittenhouse Testifies After Killing 2 During Unrest, Claims He 'Didn't Do Anything Wrong'
The remaining charges dismissed by jurors were both for first-degree recklessly endangering the safety through use of a dangerous weapon, involving two other men who were not shot. © Provided by People Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisc., courtroom
Anticipating possible unrest in response to the verdicts, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has deployed 500 National Guard troops to the city to aid local law enforcement if needed, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The prosecution's failure to secure guilty verdicts on the homicide charges lies partly in the decision to charge Rosembaum's death as "reckless" and Huber's as "intentional," says Matthew Barhoma, a criminal appeals and litigation attorney who was not involved in the case. One undercuts the other, he says.
"It really kind of destroys your case a little bit, in the sense that you misguided the jury," Barhoma tells PEOPLE. "The whole self-defense argument is going to be easy for the jury to accept when these men, Huber and Rosenbaum, appeared to be grabbing for his gun.
The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, explained: 'If you believe him when he says self-defense, then you have to acquit him'
Why did jurors acquit Kyle Rittenhouse? "If you've got them convinced of self-defense, that's it," one legal expert told USA TODAY.When they do, they'll likely be asked: Where did they find reasonable doubt?
He added: "Reasonable minds can differ, but they reasonably could have turned it around and shot him."
But civil rights attorney V. James DeSimone, who also was not involved in the case, says the self-defense argument was dubious to him from the start.
"By bringing an AR-15 in such a volatile situation, and at times pointing the weapon at individuals when there was no direct threat, it really was Kyle Rittenhouse who was provoking the violent encounters," he tells PEOPLE. "Once Kyle Rittenhouse provokes those violent encounters, then he loses the claims of self-defense. And that [was] the prosecution's argument."
"One you have a weapon with that capability, you have an obligation to use it, or not use it, in a responsible manner," he says. "You can't just claim, 'Oh, I didn't know the gun would shoot so fast.' The first shot to Joseph Rosenbaum fractures his pelvis. He goes to the ground. He is helpless. At that point, there is no reason whatsoever for Kyle Rittenhouse to squeeze the trigger and shoot three more bullets into him." © Provided by People Mark Hertzberg-Pool/Getty Kyle Rittenhouse on the stand in his trial for murder Nov. 10 in Kenosha, Wisc.
In accusing Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the killings, prosecutors alleged he answered a citizen militia's call on social media to protect Kenosha businesses from protesters. His shooting of the three men quickly inflamed debate about vigilantism and attracted pro-gun activists and allies to his side, including then-President Donald Trump, who chose not to denounce his actions.
Rittenhouse lawyers' trial playbook: Don't 'crusade,' defend
Soon after a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges against him, defense attorney Mark Richards took a swipe at his predecessors, telling reporters that their tactics — leaning into Rittenhouse's portrayal as a rallying point for the right to carry weapons and defend oneself — were not his. “I was hired by the two first lawyers. I’m not going to use their names,” Richards said Friday. “They wanted to use Kyle for a cause and something that I think was inappropriate — and I don’t represent causes. I represent clients.
"Kyle was a 17-year-old kid out there trying to help this community," defense attorney Mark Richards said in his closing argument, according to NBC News. In the death of Rosenbaum, whom Richards portrayed as belligerent to Rittenhouse, Richards said: "He was causing trouble, he was a rioter, and my client had to deal with him that night alone."
Prosecutor Binger, in his closing argument, said: "You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create." He added of Rittenhouse: "He showed no remorse for his victims. Never tried to help anybody that he hurt."
Judge Schroeder and Binger clashed repeatedly during the two-week trial, with rulings repeatedly favoring the defense, according to The Washington Post. In one instance, the judge on Veteran's Day urged everyone — jurors as well — to clap for those in the court who'd served in the military, which at the time included only an upcoming defense witness, reports The New York Times.
RELATED: Trump Defends Teen Charged with Killing 2 Kenosha Protesters: 'That Was an Interesting Situation'
The shooter and victims all were white. But the incidents unfolded on a third night of clashes between protesters and police after a white Kenosha police officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot Blake multiple times in the back Aug. 23 during an attempted arrest while responding to what authorities said was a domestic disturbance.
Blake was partially paralyzed but survived. Neither the local prosecutor nor federal authorities filed charges against the officer. But the protests that Blake's shooting sparked merged with a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, civil unrest and sometimes violent clashes across the country over the killings of Black citizens, including George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal sparks protests across US
Demonstrations sprang up nationwide in protest of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict Friday night. The verdict sparked outrage among those who feared an acquittal would embolden vigilantism, and anger in the families of the men shot who were seeking accountability and justice. Others, including pro-gun conservatives, have hailed Rittenhouse as a hero who was protecting private property from rioters.
"I don't know how they came to the final conclusion that [Rittenhouse is] innocent, but this is why African Americans say the whole damn system is guilty," Blake's uncle, Justin Blake, said outside the courthouse after the Rittenhouse verdicts, according to The Washington Post. "This must end. We are here to support Anthony and Jojo and Gaige and that's what we're going to continue to do."
Supporters of Rittenhouse outside the courthouse greeted the verdicts with cheers, reports the Post.
Multiple videos shown in the Kenosha courtroom captured the actions of Rittenhouse. Prosecutors alleged in the charging document that Rittenhouse, who told a reporter prior to the shootings that he was a "trained medic" even as he carried the rifle over his shoulder, was overheard on his cell phone after the first shooting, saying to someone on the other end, "I just killed somebody."
RELATED: Teen Arrested After 2 Killed, Another Injured at Protest Over Police Shooting of Jacob Blake
In defending his actions on the stand, Rittenhouse said in response to a question from his defense attorney that he was not looking for trouble when he came to Kenosha but rather was there to help render first aid and extinguish fires, reports the Times.
He described an initial encounter with Rosenbaum, saying, "Mr. Rosenbaum was walking with a steel chain, and he had a blue mask around his face, and he was just mad about something." Rittenhouse claimed that Rosenbaum threatened to kill him, though he acknowledged that Rosenbaum never physically touched him.
Rittenhouse said he moved on, and "as I'm walking down Sheridan Road," he testified, "I hear somebody scream, 'Burn in hell,' and I reply with, 'Friendly, friendly, friendly,' to let them know, hey, I'm just here to help. I don't want any problems."
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His composure broke in court when he described a second alleged encounter with Rosenbaum moments before he shot him.
"A gunshot is fired from behind me, directly behind me," Rittenhouse said. "And I take a few steps, and that's when I turn around. And as I'm turning around, Mr. Rosenbaum is ... coming at me with his arms out in front of him. I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun."
After a second man, Huber, then struck Rittenhouse in the neck with a skateboard and grabbed the gun, Rittenhouse shot him too, reports the Associated Press. He next shot and wounded Grosskreutz because Grosskreutz allegedly lunged at him "with his pistol pointed directly at my head," Rittenhouse said.
Rittenhouse said that in firing his weapon, he only "intended to stop the people who were attacking" him.
Read the original article on People
Acquitted and in demand, Rittenhouse ponders what's next .
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — When he was acquitted of murder in shootings during unrest in Wisconsin, Kyle Rittenhouse went from staring at possible life behind bars to red-hot star of the right: an exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson and a visit with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago capped by a photo of both men smiling and snapping a thumbs-up. For Rittenhouse, a year of legal uncertainty over whether his claim of self-defense would stand up has given way to uncertainty over what’s next. He told Carlson, in an appearance that spiked the host’s ratings by some 40%, that he hoped to become a nurse or maybe even a lawyer. He planned to “lay low” but would for sure leave the Midwest.