Saturday, December 4, 2021

Explainer: Rittenhouse lawyers fight over victim portrayal

Madison, Wis. (AP) — Lawyers in the first week of the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial disputed who incited whom, with prosecutors portraying the Illinois teenager as the assailant and defense working to show that Jin People had shot him, they threatened him.

the stakes are too big As jurors weigh in on whether Rittenhouse fired in self-defense because he legitimately felt threatened or whether he had overreacted.

Daniel Adams, a former Milwaukee County Prosecutor, said, “To establish self-defense, the first prong must show that Rittenhouse was about to interfere and that Rittenhouse believed it would cause major bodily harm.” involved in the case.

Rittenhouse brings a semi-automatic rifle to a protest against police brutality in Kenosha in August 2020. After Blake protested the arrest of a black man, the city was surrounded by chaotic demonstrations for several nights after a white police officer shot a black man. domestic dispute. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, said he was trying to protect the city’s businesses from robbers and vandals. He is charged with murder and attempt to murder, as well as being a minor with a dangerous weapon.

Just before midnight, he shot and killed Rosenbaum as Rosenbaum followed him to a parking lot. As Rittenhouse fled the scene, someone in the crowd tried to kick him in the face and Anthony Huber swung his skateboard over him, joining Rittenhouse’s head and neck. Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber. A moment later Gage Grosskretz ran up to him with a pistol. Rittenhouse shot him in the arm; Grosskretz survived.

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Rittenhouse insisted that he fired in self-defense on all three counts. The jury must ultimately decide whether Rittenhouse reasonably believed he was in danger and whether the amount of force he used was justified.

That means defense attorney Mark Richards needs to convince jurors that Rittenhouse was terrified, Adams said.

Judge Bruce Schroeder gave some help to the defense earlier this year when he barred Rosenbaum, Huber or Grosskretz from referring to the victims as victims, saying the term is “loaded” because it means that the defendant has Have committed a crime against him before anything can be proved. The judge gave Rittenhouse another boost when he ruled last month that his lawyers could refer to the men as “rioters,” “robbers” and “arsoners” if they could show evidence supporting those labels.

Richards went on the offensive during opening statements Tuesday, telling jurors that Huber intended to “separate[Rittenhouse’s]head from the body” when they hit him with a skateboard and tried to take away his gun.

Richards has also served to convince the jury that Rosenbaum was a threat. He got a police detective to testify that at various points during the night, Rosenbaum armed himself with a chainsaw stolen from a construction site, set a dumpster on fire and was walking around wearing his shirt as a mask. .

Ryan Balch, a military veteran who was carrying a rifle and accompanied Rittenhouse, testified that Rosenbaum was “over-aggressive”, threw stones at his group and threatened to kill “any of you”. which he had found alone that night. But another former veteran who was armed in the streets, Jason Lakowski, described Rosenbaum as a “stumbling idiot” who he didn’t see as a threat.

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With images from FBI surveillance aircraft video, Richards uncovers Rosenbaum’s movement in the back of a car, moments before Rittenhouse emerges and Rittenhouse shoots him.

The defense attorney described how Rosenbaum got out from behind the car to meet Rittenhouse before the shooting, telling the detective: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like a classic ambush.”

Prosecutors immediately protested, and Richards said: “Mr. Rosenbaum has gone into hiding as soon as my client arrives, isn’t it?”

“It appears, yes,” answered Howard.

Richard McGinnis, a video journalist for the conservative website The Daily Caller who was recording the events that night, testified that Rosenbaum followed Rittenhouse and lunged for Rittenhouse’s rifle.

Richards also noted in his opening statement that Grosskretz was carrying a handgun when he approached Rittenhouse.

“What he’s trying to do is put the jury in Rittenhouse’s shoes (and show) that the fear, dread, and terror are real,” Adams said. “When you are being attacked by many people, he doesn’t know (their intentions). What he thinks is that he will take away his gun and use it against him.”

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger repeatedly insisted that Rosenbaum was unarmed when he was killed. He has also argued that Rittenhouse provoked Rosenbaum during the confrontation earlier that evening and that Rittenhouse chased him with a fire extinguisher before Rosenbaum turned the table.

He told Balch on the stand to admit that he had never seen Rosenbaum attack anyone or carry a weapon. Binger also questioned McGinnis’ details of Rosenbaum’s lunging toward Rittenhouse, raising the possibility that Rosenbaum was actually falling toward him—as McGinnis said in a television interview after the shooting.

Binger has also argued that Huber and Grosskretz were trying to disarm Rittenhouse to protect the others. He is said to have raised his hands in a universal “surrender” motion before Grosskretz was shot. Richards says he dropped his hand and began to raise his pistol.

Prosecutors had hoped to expose Huber’s actions as heroic. In questioning his aunt, Susan Hughes, who also testified that Huber knew Jacob Blake. But Schroeder ruled that defense of such testimony would open the door for jurors to tell about Huber’s time in prison for a family dispute in 2012 in which he threatened and strangled his brother with a knife. Gave.

The prosecutor also argues that in all the chaos that night, Rittenhouse was the only one who killed someone. He obtained testimony from Rittenhouse’s friend, Dominic Black, who also went to the protest armed with rifles to protect businesses, that people had thrown stones at him, but did not think his life was in danger.

“I mean, pain, yes, but no danger,” Black said. “I knew it wasn’t going to kill me.”

“So you thought it wasn’t enough to use lethal force, right?” Binger said.

“Okay,” said Black.


Get the AP’s full coverage on Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at And follow Todd Richmond on Twitter


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