There have been numerous key courtroom moments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, thus far.
Rittenhouse, for the uninitiated, was 17 years old when he was arrested for fatally shooting two men, as well as injuring a third during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse has been charged with five felony counts and one misdemeanor, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to all charges in January, claiming he acted in self-defense.
Here are 13 important moments from the trial thus far that you need to know:
1. Man Rittenhouse Fatally Shot Acted “Erratic”; Hurled N-Word, Shouted “Shoot Me” Near Gas Station, Witness Testifies
Social media influencer Koerri Washington testified that Joseph Rosenbaum, a man fatally shot by Rittenhouse, hurled the N-word and yelled “shoot me” repeatedly near a Kenosha gas station on the night of August 25, 2020.
Washington also told the jury he made a “mental note” of Rosenbaum due to his “erratic” behavior.
2. Daily Caller Reporter And Witness Tells Prosecution Rosenbaum Yelled “F*** You” And Lunged For Rittenhouse’s Gun Moments Before The Teen Fired Four Shots
“When prosecutor Thomas Binger suggested it was impossible for [reporter Richard] McGinnis to know what Rosenbaum was trying to do as he lunged, McGinnis replied, ‘Well, he said “f*** you’ and he reached for the weapon,'” NPR reported.
Notably, McGinnis took off his own shirt to treat Rosenbaum within moments of the shooting, admitting that he felt “in danger.”
3. An Older White Male Juror Was Dismissed From The Case Over A Joke He Cracked About Jacob Blake
The joke the juror allegedly said went something like:
Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake seven times? Because they ran out of bullets.
After prosecution raised the issue, Judge Bruce Schroeder asked about the joke and the juror said it had “nothing to do with the case.” He was dismissed, leaving 19 jurors to hear the rest of the case.
5. Police Confirm That Rittenhouse Shouted “Friendly, Friendly, Friendly!” But Rosenbaum Continued To Chase Him
Reviewing witness footage, Kenosha Police detective Martin Howard testified that it was “correct” that Rittenhouse’s repeated yells of “friendly” did not “dissuade Mr. Rosenbaum” from continuing to chase him down.
6. Gaige Grosskreutz, Man Shot By Rittenhouse, Confirms Teen Only Fired After Being ‘Advanced’ On With Gun Pointed At Him
“Under questioning from Rittenhouse defense attorney Corey Chirafisi, Grosskreutz testified that Rittenhouse fired on him after Grosskreutz had pointed his pistol at Rittenhouse,” The Daily Wire reported. “Chirafisi began the line of questioning with a still image from a video showing the moment Rittenhouse shot Grosskreutz, showing Grosskreutz’s arm being ‘vaporized, as the witness said.”
“It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun pointed at him, that he fired, right?”
Witness who was shot by Rittenhouse:
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) November 8, 2021
7. Rittenhouse Trial Witness Says Prosecutors Asked Him To “Change” His Statement To Police
“Amateur photographer Nathan DeBruin took the stand on Tuesday as one of four defense witnesses called that day,” The Daily Wire reported. “During his testimony, DeBruin recounted an earlier, uncomfortable meeting with prosecutors in which DeBruin said they pushed him to change a statement he gave to police regarding another man, Joshua Ziminski, whom prosecutors have charged with arson.”
8. Judge Tosses Curfew Charge After Prosecution Falls Short On Evidence
The Daily Wire reported:
Judge Bruce Schroeder tossed an additional curfew charge on Tuesday, ruling that prosecutors had failed to produce any evidence that a curfew had been in place, according to CNN. The judge left in place the misdemeanor gun charge against Rittenhouse, overruling the defense’s request to have it dismissed. Rittenhouse’s attorneys have previously argued that applicable Wisconsin gun law is unconstitutional, according to the Kenosha News.
The defense’s failure to get the misdemeanor gun charge dismissed is a rare win for the prosecution over the past week of testimony. Assistant district attorney Thomas Binger and James Kraus rested the prosecution’s case on Tuesday after several significant setbacks in its case.
9. Rittenhouse Gets Called To The Stand By Defense, And Breaks Down Into Sobs
Shocking some legal commentators, defense called Rittenhouse to the stand on Wednesday, November 10. Recalling the moments leading to the fatal shooting of Rosenbaum, the teen broke down into sobs:
Rittenhouse, detailing the moments before he fired on Rosenbaum, recalled Rosenbaum yelling “burn in hell” to him as Rittenhouse yelled “friendly, friendly, friendly!” in an attempt to calm Rosenbaum. But he was chased, anyway.
Rittenhouse described feeling “trapped” by Rosenbaum and another man, identified during the trial as Joshua Ziminski, who fired his pistol in the air. The teen said the man had the pistol pointed at him during the incident.
Before describing his actions to fire, Rittenhouse sobbed uncontrollably and a ten minute recess was called.
10. Rittenhouse Reveals Rosenbaum Threatened To Kill Him Two Times Before The Incident Unfolded
Rittenhouse revealed during his testimony that Rosenbaum threatened to kill him two times prior to the fatal incident, on August 25, 2020. “If I catch any of you f***ers alone I’m going to f***ing kill you,” Rosenbaum said to Rittenhouse and a friend, the teen testified.
On another occasion, he told the two males, “I’m going to cut your f***ing hearts out and kill you N-words,” Rittenhouse said, noting that Rosenbaum did not use the term “N-word” but used the real racial slur.
11. During Cross-Examination, Prosecution Tries To Get Rittenhouse To Admit He Intentionally Killed During The Riot
Here’s the tense exchange between Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger and Rittenhouse:
Thomas Binger: Everybody that you shot at that night, you intended to kill. Correct?
Kyle Rittenhouse: I didn’t intend to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.
TB: By killing them.
KR: I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me.
TB: By killing them.
KR: Two of them passed away, but I stopped the threat from attacking me.
TB: By using deadly force.
KR: I used deadly force.
TB: That you knew was going to kill.
KR: I didn’t know if it was going to kill them, but I used deadly force to stop the threat that was attacking me.
12. Judge Schroeder Admonishes Prosecutor Binger Twice During Cross-Examination Of Rittenhouse
Judge Schroeder booted the jury from the courtroom before admonishing Binger for risking a “grave constitutional violation” during cross-examination of Rittenhouse, The Daily Wire reported:
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger ran afoul of Judge Bruce Schroeder multiple times while questioning Rittenhouse. The judge scolded, then exploded, on Binger for commenting on Rittenhouse’s pretrial silence, which risked violating the 18-year-old’s Fifth Amendment rights.
Soon after, the judge again sent out the jury when Binger “began to veer into a line of questioning that Binger did not approve with Schroeder beforehand, and that Schroeder had suggested he would forbid in pretrial hearings.”
“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence. That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that! And it gives, well, I’ll leave it at that. So I don’t know what you’re up to,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder stopped the trial and sent the jury into a nearby room minutes after Binger had begun his examination of Rittenhouse.
“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence, and that is, you’re right on the borderline. And you may be over, but it better stop,” the judge told Binger. “I can’t think of an initial case on it, but this is not permitted.”
“I have to be concerned that, with what Mr. Richards has said about the progress of the trial when you were way, well, I said you were close to or over the line on commenting on the defendant’s pretrial silence, which is a well-known rule,” Schroeder added. “I am astonished that that would have been an issue. So I don’t want to have another issue for as long as this case continues. Is that clear?”
13. Rittenhouse Defense Asks For Mistrial With Prejudice
Following a lunch break interrupting Binger’s cross-examination of Rittenhouse on Wednesday, the defense team asked Judge Schroeder for a mistrial with prejudice, which, if granted, would effectively dismiss the case permanently.
“The defense is arguing the prosecution was out of line and his conduct was extreme,” reported Fox News’ Jiovanni Lieggi.
“Circuit Court Judge Bruce E. Schroeder says he will take the motion under advisement after back-and-forth with the prosecutor in question, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger,” Lieggi added. “Judge adds that he does not believe the Binger was acting in good faith.”
Two Important Pre-Trial Moments:
1. Judge Ruled Men Shot By Rittenhouse Can’t Be Referred To As “Victims,” But They Can Be Called “Rioters” And “Looters” If Defense Can Provide Evidence
“He [defense] can demonize them if he wants, if he thinks it will win points with the jury,” Judge Bruce Schroeder said.
“The word victim is a loaded, loaded word,” Schroeder added, telling prosecution they can’t use the term “victim” to refer to those shot.
2. Prosecutor Lists Numerous Alleged Crimes Of Man Kyle Rittenhouse Fatally Shot, Downplays As Irrelevant
During a pre-trial hearing, prosecution tried to argue that alleged past actions of Rosenbaum have no connection to the deceased being fatally shot by Rittenhouse during a riot in August 2020.
Attempting to illustrate the point that there’s “no factually commonality” between prior alleged actions of Rosenbaum on the night of the incident to the shooting, prosecution listed off accusations from defense and downplayed the relevance.
The laundry list of alleged past deeds drew shock online and can be reviewed here.
In October 2020, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office announced that the gun Rittenhouse used was never carried across state lines, contrary to numerous media stories.
“There is no evidence the gun was ever physically possessed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Illinois,” said the Illinois State Attorney’s Office.