During a pre-trial hearing on Monday, prosecution tried to argue that alleged past actions of Joseph Rosenbaum have no connection to the deceased being fatally shot by Kyle 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.
“Mr. Rosenbaum started fires that night,” prosecution said. “Well, that has nothing to do with the allegation that he chased after Mr. Rittenhouse and tried to physically attack him. Arsonist — or alleged arson, has nothing to do with an alleged physical assault. There is an allegation that Mr. Rosenbaum was shouting racial slurs; that has nothing to do with physical assault.”
“There’s an allegation that he’s telling other people at [a] gas station to shoot him, which, really, is different than what was going on with Mr. Rittenhouse,” he argued. “Um, he clearly didn’t want Mr. Rittenhouse to shoot him. So, I don’t see that there’s any commonality, there.”
“So, this is bad character evidence, your honor,” prosecution claimed. “This is an attempt to tell the jury Mr. Rosenbaum was a bad guy and deserved to die. That’s really what it is.”
“‘He was an arsonist, he was a rioter, he was starting fights — well, not starting fights, he was starting problems, he’s disorderly, he was loud — whatever. Therefore, it was okay for the defendant to kill him.’ That’s really what’s going on here, your honor.”
It seems prosecution is getting ahead of the narrative that Rosenbaum is a “bad guy,” which has been circulating in news reports since the fatal shooting. For example, Rosenbaum’s criminal history and apparent sexual abuse of minors surfaced online after the riot.
Snopes reported that the claim Rosenbaum was “convicted of sexually abusing at least one child” is “true,” per criminal records:
For example, yes, at age 19, Rosenbaum was sentenced to prison for sexually abusing five children — all boys between the ages of 9 and 11 — in Arizona’s Pima County in early 2002, according to his case file obtained via a public records request by Snopes.
The documents said Rosenbaum was temporarily living with the boys’ parents after his mother had kicked him out for disobeying her rules about one month earlier. Over the course of his weeks-long stay, Rosenbaum molested the boys, showed them porn, and performed oral sex on them, among other offenses, the documents showed. He was sentenced to prison for roughly 15 years, and authorities believed at the time “his risk to recidivate being of great concern to the community” considering the victims’ gender and age. (Let us note here: The records included an interview with Rosenbaum in which he said his stepfather sexually abused him and his brother on an almost daily basis when he was a preteen.)
Considering that evidence, the claim that Rosenbaum at one point was convicted of sexually abusing at least one child before his death was true.
Prosecution, of course, is arguing past sins of Rosenbaum are irrelevant to the shooting.
Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he was arrested for fatally shooting Rosenbaum and one other man, as well as injuring a third during a protest-turned-riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was 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.
The teen pleaded not guilty in January, claiming he was acting in self-defense.
The full exchange of the prosecutor arguing against the judge permitting video evidence of Kyle Rittenhouse’s assailants behavior and actions on the night of August 28, 2020.
— John Curtis (@Johnmcurtis) October 26, 2021
Related: Not ‘Victims,’ But ‘Rioters’ And ‘Looters’: Judge Riles Up Prosecution In Rittenhouse Case With Argument Restrictions