Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Teenager sparked fatal shooting by pointing AR-15 at man, prosecutors say in closing arguments

“That’s what is causing this whole incident,” said prosecutor Thomas Binger. “When the accused provokes this incident, he loses the right to self-defense. You cannot claim self-defense against a danger that you are creating.”

The prosecutor rejected Rittenhouse’s “naughty theory” that Rosenbaum – who had nothing in his hands when he was shot – was going to take the teenager’s gun and kill other people.

“They have to convince you that Joseph Rosenbaum was going to take this weapon and use it on the accused because they know you cannot claim self-defense against an unarmed man like this,” he said. declared. “You lose the right to self-defense when you are the one who brought the weapon, when you are the one who creates the danger, when you are the one who provokes others. “

Pleadings began at noon Monday and are expected to last until five a.m. The jury of eight men and 10 women will then be reduced to 12 people by a drawing of lots before the start of deliberations.

Earlier Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a misdemeanor weapons charge against Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse, 18, now faces five felony charges and, if convicted on the most serious charge, could face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Judge Schroeder also read a series of legal instructions to the jury and informed them that they would be allowed to consider included minor offenses for two of the five charges.

The court hearing comes at the end of a two-week trial highlighted by moving and enlightening testimony from Rittenhouse himself, who said he acted in self-defense when he shot Rosenbaum , who threw a plastic bag at him and chased him.
A crowd of people chased the teenager and Rittenhouse testified that he shot in self-defense a man who tried to kick him; shot Anthony Huber, who hit him with a skateboard; and shot Gaige Grosskreutz, who was armed with a pistol. Rosenbaum and Huber were killed and Grosskreutz was injured.

The trial included more than a dozen videos from the night, showing what happened before, during and after the shooting. Most of the facts of what happened that night were not up for debate – the heart of the trial was rather the analysis of Rittenhouse’s actions and whether they can be considered “reasonable.”

The prosecution completed its evidence last Tuesday and the defense on Friday.

Prosecutor says case is about life versus property

Kyle Rittenhouse breaks down at the stand as he testifies about his meeting with Joseph Rosenbaum during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Binger’s closing argument began by noting that the lawsuit was not about politics, looting, or riots, but rather that life is more important than property.

“I think we can also agree that we shouldn’t let 17-year-olds run through our streets with AR-15s, because that’s exactly what is happening,” he said.

The prosecutor disputed Rittenhouse’s motivation for entering Kenosha that night the day after the police shooting against Jacob Blake. He pointed out that Rittenhouse had crossed state borders, violated a curfew and was not protecting his family or property. He also spent the night lying about being an EMT, Binger said.

“Was he really interested in helping people? He ran with an AR-15… and lied about being an EMT,” Binger said. “Does that suggest to you that he’s really there to help you?” “

Here's what the Kyle Rittenhouse trial jury will have to weigh

Using multiple videos, Binger walked the course of events that night chronologically, from the decision to go downtown, to the initial Rosenbaum shooting, to the second round of shootings as he attempted to escape. Jurors are “paying close attention” to the series of videos and images, according to a reporter from the pool in court.

Binger claimed that Rittenhouse provoked Rosenbaum by pointing a gun at him before the man pursued him.

A series of witnesses testified during the trial, Rosenbaum, had acted erratically and had previously threatened Rittenhouse. But the prosecutor noted that there was no video of any threat and asked if this really happened. Instead, Binger described the 5-foot-4-inch Rosenbaum as “a little dog” that only barks and doesn’t bite.

In the second shooting incident, the crowd clashed with Rittenhouse because they reasonably believed he was an active shooter, Binger said.

“This crowd was right. This crowd was full of heroes. This crowd did something honestly, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do it,” he said.

Rittenhouse, meanwhile, acted recklessly by loading his weapon with all-metal ammunition capable of piercing armor and having little understanding of the weapon or the consequences of its actions, Binger argued.

“On the witness stand he collapsed crying for himself, not for someone he hurt that night,” he said. “No remorse, no worry about someone else.”

Judge rejects charge of weapons

The judge’s dismissal of the misdemeanor charge was part of a debate over jury instructions and minor infractions on Monday. The charge, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under the age of 18, was punishable by up to nine months in prison.

Yet Rittenhouse is charged with first degree reckless homicide in Rosenbaum’s death, reckless first degree endangerment of security for endangering Richard McGinnis, and reckless first degree endangerment attempt of security for endangering an unknown person identified by the court as “the kicked man jumped”. “

He is also charged with intentional first degree homicide while using a dangerous weapon in the murder of Huber. It is the most serious charge Rittenhouse faces and the only charge that carries a mandatory life sentence.

Kyle Rittenhouse testifies that he knew Joseph Rosenbaum was unarmed but acted in self-defense in fatal shooting

Judge Schroeder instructed jurors on Monday for the included minor offenses of second degree intentional homicide and first degree reckless homicide for Huber’s death. Both minor offenses carry a penalty of up to 60 years in prison.

For shooting at Grosskreutz, Rittenhouse is charged with attempted first-degree murder, punishable by up to 60 years in prison. Justice Schroeder also instructed jurors on the minor offenses of attempted second degree intentional homicide or reckless endangering first degree safety.

Instructions to the jury on Monday lasted more than an hour. Judge Schroeder stopped halfway to discuss it further with the lawyers and noted how complicated they were.

“They are certainly right in what they say, I just think they are not clear,” he said.

At a jury instruction conference Friday, the judge told Rittenhouse that presenting less serious offenses to the jury reduced the possibility of a second trial but increased the risk of conviction. Schroeder explained that if the prosecution is unable to establish Rittenhouse’s guilt over the alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then the jury must acquit him.

The forthcoming deliberations will be closely followed at the local level. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has announced that 500 National Guard troops are waiting outside Kenosha, ahead of a possible verdict.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Aya Elamroussi and Amir Vera contributed to this report.