News & Politics

Shorter Prosecution Wrap: Kyle Rittenhouse Deserved It; Should Have Fired Warning Shot or Taken Beating During Kenosha Riot. Now the Jury Decides.

Screenshot via Twitter

Before the jury got the case to consider, Kenosha prosecutor Thomas Binger told them in closing arguments that by bringing a gun, Kyle Rittenhouse gave up his claim to self-defense and that the 17-year-old should have fired warning shots to back off the mob.

Both of those claims are untrue. One is illegal.

When he wasn’t taking bad firearms advice from Joe “Buy a Shotgun-And -Fire-Warning-Shots” Biden, prosecutor Binger tried to sell the jury on the notion that oh, come on, things weren’t all that bad during the Kenosha riots of August 25, 2020.

Well, things were bad enough that Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people because he thought he was going to die. And it’s his state of mind that actually matters in the trial because he’s the one on trial and he’s the one invoking his privilege of self-defense.

Rittenhouse shot and killed two men and wounded a third.

Closing arguments took more than five hours with both prosecution and defense taking turns summarizing the case. When the prosecution came back for a rebuttal argument, the last voice they heard was prosecutor James Kraus sternly lecturing the jury that Rittenhouse deserves to go to prison because the rioters and arsonists and those threatening his life and attacking him just weren’t that scary. Hasn’t everyone taken a beating before, he argued.

Binger took a treacly tone, cooing to jurors that the first man shot, Joseph Rosenbaum, didn’t really do anything all that bad that night. The fires he set were small, said Binger. The porta-potty he overturned wasn’t occupied. Death threats against Kyle and his buddies were no big deal. And his comments that he didn’t care if he went back to jail because he just got out were no biggie, the prosecutor assured the jury. The chain he carried as a weapon was really no big deal, certainly nothing that Kyle Rittenhouse should worry his pretty little 17-year-old head about.

Testimony showed that Rosenbaum chased the 17-year-old and then lunged for his weapon, a Smith and Wesson M&P rifle. Medical testimony confirmed that the 36-year-old Rosenbaum, a violent serial child rapist, something Rittenhouse knew nothing of at the time, lunged for his weapon because of the “stippling” evidence on his hands.

Rosenbaum “picked him out of the herd,” as defense attorney Mark Richards put it. And, as he argued to jurors, his client had every right to be in Kenosha and remain “unmolested” by Rosenbaum and his friends that night. Just wait till the jurors understand what Richards really meant by that remark after they get a look at Rosenbaum’s rap sheet.

At one point in his closing arguments, Richards said he was “glad” Rosenbaum was shot because it was better he was stopped from getting the rifle and shooting others. It was a theme Rittenhouse echoed on the stand. Rittenhouse never said he was glad about shooting the men that night, far from it, but he believed he, and possibly others, would have died had his attackers taken control of his weapon.

It was a kill-or-be-killed situation in the mind of Rittenhouse, as he testified during the trial. When Rosenbaum backed him into a corner with no other place to retreat — which Rittenhouse was not obligated to do under Wisconsin law — Rosenbaum lunged for his gun. Four shots exploded from Rittenhouse’s M&P in 3/4 of a second.

Shocking, however, was the overt mischaracterization of the law and the facts stated by the prosecution in closing argument.

Prosecutor Binger claimed the law states Rittenhouse had no self-defense rights because he had a long gun and his attackers had only fists, feet, skateboard, and smaller gun.

As self-defense lawyer Andrew Branca noted, that’s not how any of this works.

This, of course, went to the heart of Kyle Rittenhouse’s self-defense case. It also exposed the absurdity of saying Rittenhouse’s gun was wrong, but Gaige Grosskreutz’s illegal handgun and the other guns pointed at Rittenhouse that night, which jurors saw on video in court, were perfectly OK. Indeed, before the final arguments and out of the jury’s view,  Judge Bruce Schroeder dropped the charge of a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon. The prosecution acquiesced without a whimper because they knew they had no proof and the charge had served its purpose of poisoning the jury pool and the media with the fake “across state lines” “under 18” counterfeit claims for the past 15 months.  Mission Accomplished. 

Related: The Media Were All Wrong. Kyle Rittenhouse Legally Possessed Gun at Kenosha Riots

The outrage of mischaracterizing the law met with no objection.

The prosecution claimed Rittenhouse was an “active shooter.” But it turns out that the kid chose not to shoot several armed people that night when they posed no imminent threat to him. He was running two blocks toward the cops when he was taken down by a mob. Interviewed by Gaige Grosskreutz on his livestream, Rittenhouse told the man he would shoot seconds later that he was running to the cops. Grosskreutz, the medic, chose not to go to the scene of the shooting; he was seen unholstering his gun and chasing Rittenhouse. Only when the Antifa “revolutionary” pointed his gun at point-blank range did  Rittenhouse shoot him.

Binger argued that the crowd “could have used deadly forced against” Rittenhouse. They could have picked him off with their weapons but didn’t, he appeared to argue. But, whoops, it turns out they did. Binger didn’t even mention Anthony Huber’s skateboard, which was used to bash Rittenhouse’s head and neck, and Gaige Grosskreutz’s illegal handgun pointed at the 17-year-old’s head. Those attacks met the self-defense test. That’s why Rittenhouse shot the people doing it to him.

Binger argued that Rittenhouse wasn’t a real medic that night. No real medics arm themselves he tsk tsk’d the jury, even as his star witness, Grosskreutz, carried and used an illegal weapon while acting as a medic that same night.

Binger argued as if the jury hadn’t just heard two weeks of testimony in the trial. He argued that a man who the jurors had clearly seen kicked Rittenhouse in the face with his heavy boots didn’t really kick him in the face. The prosecutor “tried” to kick Rittenhouse in the face, he argued. Sure, in a move that spun the nearly supine kid 180º around.

Related: YouTube Cuts Off the Best Real-Time, Legal Coverage of Rittenhouse Trial and Immediately Regrets It

The defense brought up the newly discovered fuzzy photo, which Richards dismissed as “hocus-pocus, out of focus.” Rittenhouse suddenly “goes from right-handed to left-handed” in the magic photo. Richards held the M&P and talked through what would happen if Rittenhouse had used the gun as a left-hander, such as spent shells springing into his face.

Prosecutors later said there was no such thing as a right-handed or left-handed rifle. Of course this came from attorneys who’d apparently been trained at the Alec Baldwin School of Gun Safety. Binger held the rifle and pointed it toward the jury with his finger on the trigger.

Binger argued that it was Rittenhouse who provoked the violence that night, a late trial tactic that was employed when one of the prosecution’s own witnesses, a police officer, testified that Joseph Rosenbaum had lain in wait for the 17-year-old before he lunged for him and his gun.

Defense attorney Richards says it was a Hail Mary to get his client.

The jury got the case to consider late Monday afternoon. Tuesday will be their first full day of deliberations.

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