Prosecution Closes Arguments for Rittenhouse Culpability with Extensive Video Analysis, Summary of Evidence

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By Delilah Hammons and Gabriel Eskandari

KENOSHA, WI – During the prosecution’s closing arguments in the Kenosha County Courthouse this Monday in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger analyzed several videos and summarized his evidence for the jury to prove Rittenhouse’s guilt.

During a protest in Kenosha last year, Rittenhouse killed two people with an AR-15 and injured a third, and is facing several charges including first degree reckless homicide.

The jury began deliberations Tuesday.

But on Monday, DA Binger first attempted to explain why the crowd saw Rittenhouse not only as a threat, but also as an active shooter.

DA Binger showed a video that displays Rittenhouse running from a crowd after shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person Rittenhouse killed. DA Binger stated Rittenhouse lied to the crowd at the protest about his actions.

In the video referred to as Exhibit 12, Rittenhouse is being asked why he killed Rosenbaum as he runs away, and Rittenhouse can then be heard saying “he pulled a gun.” DA Binger said that this was a lie:

“Joseph Rosenbaum didn’t have a gun, the defendant knew he didn’t have a gun, the defendant is lying to save his own skin instead of going and trying to help the person he just shot and killed.”

DA Binger then showed a Facebook Live video referred to as Exhibit 3, where he argued that it can be heard that Rittenhouse lies again to people in the crowd, saying he didn’t shoot anyone.

DA Binger argued that the crowd was dealing with what they believed was an active shooter, and that they were concerned about where he was going next. He stated that the crowd saw someone with a gun who was lying to them and who had shot someone, and that this is provocation to them.

DA Binger stated, “It is entirely reasonable for that crowd to believe at that moment that he is a threat to kill again.”

DA Binger argued Rittenhouse could have stayed at Rosenbaum’s body, helped protect him, or called 911. He further argued that he could’ve fired warning shots, dropped the gun, or raised his hands and surrendered, but instead, “Everything he does is indicative of someone who is still a threat.”

The DA argued the crowd has a right to stop an active shooter, and that the defendant is not the only one who has a right to self-defense.

While the crowd could have used deadly force, said DA Binger, he noted the crowd, instead, attempted to disarm Rittenhouse, with Anthony Huber coming at him with a skateboard and trying to grab his gun, with someone else trying to kick him in the face, and with Gaige Grosskreutz only trying grab at Rittenhouse’s gun despite having his own gun.

DA Binger explained Grosskreutz “reaches for the gun to try to disarm the defendant. Gaige Grosskreutz had his own gun in his own hand, he could have aimed it and fired it at the defendant but he did not,” because, DA Binger stated, he is not the type of person to just take a person’s life in an instant, unlike the defendant.

Also, DA Binger showed a video, referred to as Exhibit 5, that traced this incident.

This scuffle is when Rittenhouse kills Huber and shoots Grosskreutz. “In just a few seconds, the defendant kills one person, attempts to kill two more, and blows off Gaige Grosskreutz’s arm. It’s that fast. This is someone who has no remorse, no regard for life, only cares about himself,” argued DA Binger.

DA Binger said the only time Grosskreutz’s gun was pointing at Rittenhouse was after his arm, that was holding it, had been severed by the gunshot wound.

DA Binger then switched gears in order to, according to him, highlight the hypocrisy of the defense:

“According to the defense, if someone has a gun they’re a threat. If someone points a gun they’re a threat. There’s only one exception to that: the defendant. By their logic, he gets to run around with a gun all night. But, oh, we’re not supposed to take him as a threat. He gets to point the gun at everyone. But, oh, we’re not supposed to take him as a threat. No, it doesn’t work that way. The same set of rules apply to the defendant as everybody else. There’s no exception to the law for Kyle Rittenhouse.”

DA Binger then switched directions again, stating that he wanted to put everything into context.

He first pulled up a screenshot of Rittenhouse’s TikTok account, which was titled “4doorsmorewhores,” had a profile picture of Rittenhouse holding an AR-15, and had a bio that read, “Bruh I’m just tryna be famous.”

DA Binger then tried to argue about Rittenhouse’s ignorance about the AR-15. He stated Rittenhouse had only fired it in one other instance before the protest, that he wanted it because he said it looked cool, and that he didn’t seem to know or care much about the type of ammunition or type of gun.

He explained that Rittenhouse had loaded his gun with 30 rounds of full metal jacket ammunition, which, unlike hollow-point ammunition, he stated, is meant to go through its target and carry on.

“There are houses, there are churches, there are daycares, there are schools nearby, and you’re firing full metal jacket ammunition around,” DA Binger said.

DA Binger then attacked Rittenhouse’s claim that he was at the protest to be a medic, commenting, “The defendant has admitted the gun was useless when he was going to treat people as a medic because it got in the way, he had to take it off and hand it to someone. So you can’t use it as a medic, you can’t use it to protect the building, so what’s it there for?” DA Binger asked.

He also stated that no serious credible medic would wear an AR-15 slung around their body, and that it doesn’t send an inviting message that they are there to help.

DA Binger then stated that Rittenhouse lied to the press about being a certified EMT. “He’s like a quack doctor practicing without a license. That puts lives at risk,” DA Binger said.

DA Binger added, “So how do we evaluate the defendant’s performance as a medic that night? Well, on one hand he wrapped an ankle and I think maybe helped somebody who got a cut on their hand. Yay. On the other hand he killed two people, blew off Gaige Grosskreutz’s arm, and put two more lives in jeopardy. So you know, when we balance your role as a medic that night, I don’t give you any credit.”

DA Binger stated that most reasonable people didn’t go out to Kenosha that night, suggesting Rittenhouse’s decision to do so was unreasonable:

“The curfew, the riots, the arson, the looting that we’d seen in those prior nights, roadblocks set up around downtown, closed exits on the interstates, all of this was sending the message to reasonable people: ‘Go away, don’t come down here.’ Who was left at 11:45 at night? Most reasonable people had gone home before the curfew or never even came at all,” DA Binger stated.

Also, according to DA Binger, though Rittenhouse said he was there to protect Car Source, a business, DA Binger also stated that Car Source was empty that night and that the owners testified that they moved all the cars and tools.

Then, DA Binger focused on Joseph Rosenbaum, the person Rittenhouse killed first.

He stated that because Rosenbaum was dead and cannot speak for himself, he was an easy target for the defense. So, DA Binger wanted to talk more in detail about him.

With a seemingly sarcastic tone, DA Binger stated, “Let me tell you all the awful things Joseph Rosenbaum did. He tipped over a porta potty that had no one in it. He swung a chain. He lit a metal garbage dumpster on fire, oh and there’s this empty wooden flatbed trailer that they pulled out in the middle of the road and they tipped it over to stop some BearCats, and they lit it on fire. Oh and he said some bad words, he said the n-word.”

Then, DA Binger became serious again: “If he [Rosenbaum] were alive today … I’d probably try to prosecute him for arson, but I can’t because the defendant killed him.

“I’m not here to say the things that Joseph Rosenbaum did were good, or that I condone that type of behavior, not at all. But he didn’t deserve to die for it. You can’t kill someone for these things,” DA Binger went on.

DA Binger further characterized Rosenbaum as a five foot, four inch tall, 150-pound man who posed no real threat to Rittenhouse or anyone else.

The crux of the defense’s argument, stated DA Binger, relied on a threat that Rosenbaum supposedly made to Rittenhouse. DA Binger stated, however, that dozens of people had been out there recording all night long, and that no video evidence could be found of the threat.

DA Binger also stated that in the testimony of Ryan Balch, another man who was with Rittenhouse for parts of the night and also had an AR-15, Balch said the threat occurred after an incident relating to an attempted dumpster fire lighting.

DA Binger showed a video referred to as Exhibit 18 that supposedly showed this dumpster incident, and argued that the threat did not appear in the video.

Lastly, DA Binger addressed the jury directly: “You are here to decide whether or not his actions are legally justified. Not to buy pathetic excuses that might be given to you.”

DA Binger said, “We all know this case comes down to self-defense. But there’s a high bar for using deadly force in a self-defense situation. The law says that ‘The defendant may intentionally use force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if the defendant reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.’

“So did Joseph Rosenbaum pose an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to the defendant? No way. Did Anthony Huber pose an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to the defendant? Absolutely not,” DA Binger stated, as he wrapped up his closing arguments.

About The Author

Gabriel is a recent graduate of UC Davis. He majored in Political Science.

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35 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    With a seemingly sarcastic tone, DA Binger stated, “Let me tell you all the awful things Joseph Rosenbaum did. He tipped over a porta potty that had no one in it. He swung a chain. He lit a metal garbage dumpster on fire, oh and there’s this empty wooden flatbed trailer that they pulled out in the middle of the road and they tipped it over to stop some Bearcats, and they lit it on fire. Oh and he said some bad words, he said the n-word.”

    LOL, you can’t make this stuff up.

    Then, DA Binger became serious again: “If he [Rosenbaum] were alive today … I’d probably try to prosecute him for arson, but I can’t because the defendant killed him.”

    Yeah right, everyone knows that wouldn’t have happened.

    DA Binger further characterized Rosenbaum as a five foot, four inch tall, 150 pound man who posed no real threat to Rittenhouse or anyone else.

    Well, according to this link, Rosenbaum has posed a threat to other people (children) in the past:

    Joseph Rosenbaum, who died after being allegedly shot by Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, on Aug. 25, appears to have been charged by an Arizona grand jury with 11 counts of child molestation and inappropriate sexual activity around children, including sodomy.
    Wisconsin Right Now also reported the following: The victims were five boys ranging in age from nine to 11 years old, but the 11 charges were amended in a plea deal, and Rosenbaum was convicted of amended counts.
    According to online court records, Rosenbaum was sentenced to 10 years on Dec. 12, 2002 for sexual contact of a minor and then sentenced to 2 years, 6 months for sexual contact of a minor related to the same 2002 incident, Wisconsin Right Now reported. He was also reportedly put on lifetime probation on Dec. 16, 2002, according to the news organization.
    https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/disturbing-details-on-criminal-histories-of-shooting-victims-in-kenosha/

    I know that has no bearing on this case, but it does show what type of person Rosenbaum reportedly was.  Not some poor little innocent “five foot, four inch tall, 150 pound man”.

     

      1. Ron Oertel

         weren’t exactly Boy Scouts either.

        Well, reportedly not (some) scoutmasters, anyway.

        e Scouts declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February after thousands of allegations of child sexual abuse perpetrated by scoutmasters. The scope far exceeds the scope of American Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal — the number of abused Boy Scout claimants is more than 88,000 men. And that number could rise before Monday’s deadline to file a claim.

        https://www.npr.org/2020/11/13/933924470/boy-scouts-of-america-sexual-abuse-victims-seek-justice-in-bankruptcy-court#:~:text=The%20Scouts%20declared%20Chapter%2011,is%20more%20than%2088%2C000%20men.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I screwed that up.

          A more accurate comment would be that one of the Rittenhouse’s “victims” might reportedly have something in common with some scoutmasters.

          Geez, you’d think the guy would want to stay out of trouble, after that.

          Of course, none of this should have any bearing on the subsequent incident itself.

          Could be some “Must-See-TV” coming up any minute, now. But, the verdict seems to be taking awhile, which kind of surprises me.

        2. Keith Olson

          I think the judge will call a mistrial if the verdict comes back guilty due to prosecution holding back an enhanced video until closing arguments which they never supplied to the defense.  It’s almost like the prosecution is trying to create a mistrial because they realize how badly they screwed up.

          Also MSNBC was caught trailing the jurors bus where the fear is they were possibly trying to get pictures of the jurors.  MSNBC has been kicked out of the rest of the proceedings.  This type of thing could be considered juror intimidation and might also lead to a mistrial.

          The judge admonished the press yesterday for their coverage saying he will think twice before ever allowing cameras in his courtroom again..

        3. Ron Oertel

          I think the judge will call a mistrial if the verdict comes back guilty . . .

          Do judges normally “wait” for the verdict to make that decision?  (I don’t know the answer to that.)

          In any case, if that occurs – I would think that it will add fuel to the “literal fires” that might be expected.

          Never mind the jurors – the judge would probably be at risk.

          1. David Greenwald

            What normally happens is that there is a motion for a new trial and to set aside the verdict. Normally that is rejected by the judge almost out of hand. But with this judge, hard to know.

        4. Keith Olson

          Never mind the jurors – the judge would probably be at risk.

          And that just shows how intimidation is at work in this trial decision.  If any other verdict comes back but guilty there’s going to be riots, burning and looting.  That’s not how the system is supposed to work.

        5. Ron Oertel

          We haven’t really evolved all that much from the early days of Placerville (“Hangtown”).

          Though the judge (at least) strikes me as someone who won’t be intimidated. (Not a comment regarding the validity of his decisions, but he seems to take “no guff”.)

          What is “guff”, now that I think about it? (I don’t have time to look it up, before the editing period ends.)

        6. David Greenwald

          Keith, let’s forget about this case for a second. Don’t you agree that there’s a problem and that we are gonna have to figure out?  Right now somebody has a gun in public and you give them the benefit of the doubt and they turned out to be a live shooter, then you’re gonna be dead before you come out. There has to be a better way right?  Aside from this – Putting guns in a protest is not a recipe for Harmony in Society?

        7. Ron Oertel

          Right now somebody has a gun in public.

          Is it legal to carry-around a gun like that?

          It’s fortunate that no one else was shot, accidentally.  (See Breonna Taylor, at the hands of a “professional” – through a building, no less.)

          Let’s not forget about the “Blade Runner” incident, as well. Geez, I just wanted to use the bathroom, honey.

    1. David Greenwald

      Having spent like two years now covering trials over zoom, not sure about that.  Don’t seem to recall complaints about the judge in the Chauvin trial.

      1. Ron Oertel

        The comment had to do with cameras, not the judge in any particular case.

        I’m not opposed to cameras.  The O.J. Simpson Trial was one of the best reality TV shows of the 1990s. And spawned a bunch of sequels based upon that, as well.

        Also helped Norm MacDonald’s career, RIP. Or maybe hurt it, on Saturday Night Live at least.

        Much of TV is based upon the “entertainment” value of crime, sorry to say (I guess).

        Gabby who? Why do I even I know so much about that? (I think it had to do with the facade of YouTube videos, as well – which is all part of modern entertainment.)

        It allows one to divorce the actual tragedies from their entertainment value. Modern Roman Coliseums?

        1. Alan Miller

          I’m not opposed to cameras.  The O.J. Simpson Trial was one of the best reality TV shows of the 1990s.

          Exactly why I’m opposed to cameras.

          It allows one to divorce the actual tragedies from their entertainment value.

          Exactly.

          Modern Roman Coliseums?

          Yes.

    2. Keith Olson

      I thought we learned after Judge Ito that cameras were a bad idea.

      Right, and look at what happened in that trial, the wrong verdict where a killer was set free because of public pressure.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I don’t think that was due to public pressure.

        I believe it was due to a jury which didn’t believe in “science”, and saw racism in which none existed (or at least, wasn’t pertinent to the case).

        Plus, the gloves were a little difficult to put on, though worded more-cleverly than that. 🙂

        Not a case that bothered me at all, really. Hey, I like the Naked Gun movies.

        The thought occurs to me that it’s somewhat similar to the Gabby case, in that there’s a public perception/presentation which apparently didn’t match reality. And that’s what really makes for great TV.

        Though I guess he *could* still be innocent. Did he (or they) ever find the real killer?

        1. Alan Miller

          I believe it was due to a jury which didn’t believe in “science”, and saw racism in which none existed (or at least, wasn’t pertinent to the case).

          I interpreted it as a shot at the whole system by a jury that wanted to send a message.  In that I believe they succeeded.

          similar to the Gabby case, in that there’s a public perception/presentation which apparently didn’t match reality.

          Not sure I get the connection to Gabby Petito except as tragedy making for modern entertainment. But what perception didn’t match reality? Petito/Laundrie wasn’t even a trial.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Not sure I get the connection to Gabby Petito except as tragedy making for modern entertainment. But what perception didn’t match reality?

          Gabby and Brian presented themselves as a happy couple on YouTube, enjoying a great trip.

          O.J. Simpson also had a friendly public persona which apparently doesn’t reflect a significant part of his personality.

  2. David Greenwald

    Jury acquits Rittenhouse on all charges.  Doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t agree.  Room to criticize both the prosecutor and judge here.

    The problem I see is that we are only going to see more of this guns at protests and that is going to open the door for this kind of violence, especially in an era of mass and active shooters.

    1. Keith Olson

      He was innocent, it was self defense but most of mainstream media tried to crucify him.

      Even the President lied about him being a white supremacist, I hope he sues Biden.

      It’s the right decision, justice was served.

      1. David Greenwald

        He was not innocent. Two people died because of the choices he made. He did not live in the community. He chose to come there. He chose to have a loaded weapon. He chose to kill people who felt threatened by his presence.

        1. Keith Olson

          He shot three people who were attacking him first.  That’s the choices they made. His father lived there and Rittenhouse actually had worked in the community.  He only lived around 20 miles away so it wasn’t like he made a long trek to get there.

    2. Keith Olson

      David, I’m kind of surprised by your stance when it comes to Rittenhouse.  As someone who more often than not comes down on the side of the defendant you seemed to overlook the self defense aspect of this case.  At the very least there was more than enough doubt as to his guilt and that’s all that was needed.

      1. David Greenwald

        Because as I’ve explained in several comments – self-defense cannot come out of a situation which involved provocation. I also explained why I believed the jury would likely acquit or hang, but in the end, if you can bring a weapon to protest and shot and kill someone who feels threatened by the weapon, then we have a much larger problem.

          1. David Greenwald

            Maybe. We don’t know that. Moreover and most importantly, they certainly did not know that. And that’s the problem. He’s a 17 year old kid with a baby face, he comes with a gun, I’m not thinking he’s there to protect the property. This is the point I keep trying to make to you over and over again. Why bringing these guns into public range is so dangerous – because no one knows what the person’s purpose is and we have seen far too many live shooting events to take for granted. The right doesn’t want to reconcile this problem.

        1. Keith Olson

          Then get the laws changed because Rittenhouse broke no laws.  You can’t convict him because you don’t like it that he brought a gun to a riot in order to protect property, according to him.

        2. Bill Marshall

          if you can bring a weapon to protest and shot and kill someone who feels threatened by the weapon, then we have a much larger problem.

          Maybe we should go to “open carry” and everyone should carry a gun (even automatics).  Perhaps if we had that, only Rittenhouse would have died, after raising the gun.

          And the valid defense would be, “in defense of another”…

  3. Bill Marshall

    Well, my prediction that Rittenhouse would “skate” was correct…

    New prediction… in next few years, Kyle Rittenhouse will be another George Zimmerman… he likely feels he has a ‘license’ to repeat his actions, with no fear of punishment, if he claims ‘self-defense’… just like Zimmerman.

    In both cases, no inkling of any regrets, “vindicated”/’justified’, and free.  Free to repeat.

  4. Ron Oertel

    I’d conclude that as long as it was legal to bring a gun like that in the first place, Rittenhouse did not do anything even close to breaking the law – from what I saw.

    As such, the charges should not have been brought against him in the first place.

    However – I, for one, am shocked that anyone can carry around a gun like that anywhere in the U.S.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Rittenhouse did not do anything even close to breaking the lawfrom what I saw.
      As such, the charges should not have been brought against him in the first place.

      So, “nuances”… laws of the State of Wisconsin, or “moral law”?

      ‘no charges?’  So it was normal and reasonable to travel 20 miles, get an automatic rifle from a buddy, insert yourself into a protest against unnecessary violence, ostensibly to render medical aid, protect property that you have no history with, kill two folk, paralyze a third, and all of that (including shooting one 4 times, after the first shot incapacitated the man, killing him, and that’s all normal and reasonable?  Perhaps he should get a medal for killing a man “who needed killing”… unbeknownst to him @ the time?

      Your bringing Scouts and Scoutmasters into the discussion was gratuitous, at best… I have not the words to describe what it really was… closest I can come to is ‘lowest of the low’, and not germane to the discussion.  Were you a Scout and sexually/physically abused?  That whole tangent was weird… yet, you took it.  Why?

      The “highest court” will be his judge… I won’t presume to guess what that judgement might be.  And before then, there may be civil suits and/or Fed ‘civil rights violations’ charges.  And, perhaps he can ‘turn his life around’, never do this kind of “stupid” again, and participate in some sort of ‘restorative justice’ thingy… but, I’d not place a bet on any of those happening.

      He may not have been “found guilty” of the charges, “beyond all reasonable doubt”… but not to charge him would have been injustice… it would have been the issuance of a “hunting license”… Mr Kyle Rittenhouse is no ‘innocent’… if you think everything he did was perfectly fine, or even meritorious, that would say a lot about you.

      I hope Mr Rittenhouse gets MH attention, and I hope I’m wrong that he’ll do something like this again.

      In the meantime, the young man should have psychiatric evaluation, and seek treatment, as appropriate.

       

    2. Ron Oertel

      So, “nuances”… laws of the State of Wisconsin, or moral ‘law’?

      laws of the State of Wisconsin

       I have not the words to describe what it really was… closest I can come to is ‘lowest of the low’, and not germane to the discussion. 

      I’m not the one who brought the scouts up as a moral compass.  Though the person who did so was referring to scouts, themselves (and not the “masters”).  Just something that came to mind.

      The “highest court” will be his judge

      The Supreme Court is going to hear the case?  🙂

      Mr Kyle Rittenhouse is no ‘innocent’… if you think everything he did was perfectly fine, or even meritorious, that would say a lot about you.

      The jury is the one that found him not guilty.  What law do you think he broke?

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