News & Politics

The Prosecution Rests and Defense Is Up in Kyle Rittenhouse Case

Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

The state rested its case against Kyle Rittenhouse in a Kenosha, Wisc., courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.

The state ended its case with the medical expert who testified on burn marks and placement of the four shots Rittenhouse discharged from his semi-automatic rifle into the first man shot by Rittenhouse. The state also presented a new video it received from an “evidence fairy” during the past few days. It was disclosed to the defense only on Friday.

The video showed Joseph Rosenbaum and another man, believed to be Joshua Ziminski, chasing Rittenhouse. Ziminski fired the first shot behind Rittenhouse and his other pursuer, Rosenbaum. Ziminski fired the shot into the air. Within seconds Rosenbaum caught up with the 17-year-old and was shot when he lunged for his gun.

It’s unclear if the video made much difference to the state’s case, but the prosecutors hope to somehow show that Rittenhouse looking back at the men chasing him connotes some wrongdoing on the part of the teen.

A forensic pathologist also testified on Tuesday that wounds in Rosenbaum’s hand could be consistent with grabbing the barrel of the gun from Rittenhouse.

[Dr. Doug] Kelley said Rosenbaum was shot four times by someone who was within 4 feet of him. He testified that Rosenbaum was first wounded in the groin and then in the hand and thigh as he faced Rittenhouse, and then was shot in the head and in the back.

Those final two shots were at a downward angle, as if Rosenbaum was horizontal to Rittenhouse, Kelley said. Prosecutors have said this indicates Rosenbaum was falling forward, while defense attorney Mark Richards said Rosenbaum was lunging.

Kelley said both were possible.

Kelley also said Rosenbaum’s hand was “in close proximity or in contact with the end of that rifle.”

On cross-examination, Richards pointed out the small injuries from soot on Rosenbaum’s hand and said: “So that hand was over the barrel of Mr. Rittenhouse’s gun when his hand was shot.”

“That makes sense,” Kelley said.

The defense maintains that Rosenbaum was attempting to grab Rittenhouse’s Smith and Wesson M&P rifle shortly before he shot his pursuer.

The testimony is important because defense attorneys want to show that Rosenbaum lunged for the gun, buttressing Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense. Indeed, it is this shooting that is the hardest to see on video and therefore more difficult to prove.

It’s clear from this and other videos, however, that Rittenhouse was pursued by Rosenbaum, who another video shows, lay in wait until the teen ran by and then jumped out to chase and lunge at him.

Shortly after the prosecution rested its case, the judge dismissed the curfew violation charge against Rittenhouse.

Also, the testimony by an FBI agent about the bureau’s overhead spy video shown at trial was expunged from the record because the judge says it was interrupted and therefore incomplete. The jury was told to ignore the testimony.