KENOSHA, Wisconsin (AP) – When Kyle Rittenhouse stood up to testify about his actions that night, he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha. – sobbing and seemingly unable to continue as he approached the tipping point when he shot the first man – it was one of the most compelling moments in his two-week murder trial.
It was arguably the most effective part of his three-day defense, potentially leading the jury to sympathize with the 18-year-old who declared self-defense in shootings that killed two men.
Prosecutors say it was Rittenhouse’s decision to travel to Kenosha – a city torn apart by protests after a white policeman shot a black man, Jacob Blake – and walk the streets with a rifle, resulting in violence. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, is indicted on several counts, including premeditated and reckless murder. as well as possession of dangerous weapons by minors.
Here’s a look at how the defense presentation went, which on Thursday set out its arguments:
HOW WAS THE RITTENHOUSE TESTIMONY PASS?
The most logical decision of the defense was to dismiss Rittenhouse. let him tell the jury what he was thinking when he opened fire.
Andrew Branca, a Colorado-based lawyer who wrote The Law of Self-Defense: Principles, said in a blog about the lawsuit that the decision was “a high-stakes defense rate, and there is always a risk of failure. from the jaws of victory. “
Defendants who claim self-defense are not required to testify. But they are under pressure because what they thought about when they used lethal force plays a key role in defining guilt.
The risk was that Rittenhouse would stumble, intimidate, or provoke aggressive interrogations by the prosecutor’s office, and blurt out something that would harm his case. But for most of his six hours of testimony, he was calm, answering questions politely and succinctly.… He was not lethargic or whipped back.
When Attorney General Thomas Binger demanded that Rittenhouse be asked if it was true that he intended to kill all three, Rittenhouse replied, “I was not going to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me. “
Several legal experts said his display of overt emotion just minutes after his testimony, prompting the judge to take a short break, could have helped his jury case.
“There is a public debate about the sincerity of Rittenhouse’s tears,” said Louis J. Shapiro, a Los Angeles-based lawyer. “If the jury finds them authentic, that bodes well for the Rittenhouse.”
Branca, who previously told the Associated Press that he believes Rittenhouse should be acquitted, said Rittenhouse’s testimony would be well suited for a defense.
WHAT YOU DID IN THE PROTECTIVE CASE?
The defense had achieved a lot even before it was their turn, during the prosecution part. Some witnesses on the part of the state clearly helped the defense more.
A prime example was the case when one of the first prosecution witnesses, videographer Richie McGinniss, described the first person killed by Rittenhouse., Joseph Rosenbaum attacks Rittenhouse shouting “Fuck you!” and rushes for the Rittenhouse rifle.
In addition, prosecutors provided extensive video evidence supporting the defense’s belief that Rittenhouse was chased when he shot Rosenbaum and, moments later, Anthony Huber and Gyge Grosskreutz. Their video showed Grosskreutz with a pistol in his hand. when he approached Rittenhouse.
Joe Lopez, a lawyer based in Chicago, said he did not consider calling such witnesses a mistake on the part of prosecutors. He said that prosecutors often want to be the one to introduce evidence that is inevitably favorable to the defense, rather than leaving it to the discretion of the defense.
WHAT ELSE HAS DEFENSE ACHIEVED?
Because so many key issues were raised and resolved through cross-examination in the state’s weeklong trial, there were fewer cases for the defense.
In addition to being at the booth for most of Wednesday, the defense also called in a number of witnesses to show that he did not display aggression or malice at night and helped clean up graffiti that day and put out fires at night.
Prosecutors tried to focus the jury’s attention on everything Rittenhouse did, starting with his decision to come to Kenoshi with a pistol, while the defense tried to direct them towards a much more detailed review, with one defense expert zeroing 2 minutes on Thursday. , 55 seconds from the moment Rosenbaum started chasing Rittenhouse.
“Self-defense is the debate that the defense wants the jury to sit in the courtroom,” Shapiro said. “No question why Rittenhouse didn’t go about his business,” and stayed away from protest.
Read the full description of the Rittenhouse study provided by AP at https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse. and follow Michael Tarma on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mtarm.