Yesterday, the prosecution rested its case against Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man accused of killing two rioters and injuring a third during the violent, arson-filled days in August 2020
after Kenosha, Wisconsin police shot Jacob Blake.
The prosecution called 22 witnesses over the course of six days, attempting to prove that the then-17-year-old Rittenhouse committed five felonies and a misdemeanor, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and first-degree attempted intentional homicide.
Yesterday, the judge dismissed one charge, a curfew violation, because prosecutors had failed to present any evidence that a curfew was in place.
Judge Bruce Schroeder has, in our opinion, so far done a stellar job of presiding over the politically charged trial, which has included, in addition to the usual media circus such a trial attracts, threats by various agitators to dox him and the jurors.
But frankly, we wonder why the trial is still going on after the video evidence and the testimony of one of Rittenhouse’s attackers, Gaige Grosskreutz, was presented to the jury.
Grosskreutz, who was wounded in the melee with Rittenhouse, was supposed to be the prosecution’s star witness, but he was shown to be, not only the aggressor in the exchange with Rittenhouse, but a liar as well.
Here’s the exchange according to the CNN transcript:
Grosskreutz also admitted that he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse before he was shot.
"When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?" defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said.
"Correct," Grosskreutz said.
"It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun -- now your hand is down pointed at him -- that he fired, right?" Chirafisi asked.
"Correct," Grosskreutz responded.
Grosskreutz also testified that his concealed carry license had expired, and he also admitted he lied when he told investigators his gun had fallen out of his pants earlier in the night.
The video evidence from an FBI drone and from Richie McGinniss, a video editor with The Daily Caller news site, also provided compelling evidence of Rittenhouse’s innocence.
Mr. McGinniss testified that Joseph Rosenbaum had lunged for the front of Rittenhouse's rifle moments before he was shot. And Dr. Douglas Kelley of the Milwaukee Medical Examiner's office testified Rosenbaum had a close-range gunshot wound to his hand:
"That hand was over the barrel of Mr. Rittenhouse's gun when his hand was shot?" defense attorney Richards said.
"That makes sense," Kelley responded.
So, why is this trial still going on?
One reason is that the judge has refused to dismiss the least serious remaining charge against Kyle Rittenhouse -- possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor. Under Wisconsin law, "any person under 18 years of age who possesses or goes armed with a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor." The misdemeanor charge, which carries a nine-month jail term and $10,000 fine, remains, and could go to the jury even if the more serious charges are dismissed.
During a pre-trial hearing use-of-force expert John Black spent hours outlining the moments that led to Kyle Rittenhouse’s decisions to shoot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz. Black testified that video shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse and reaching for the teenager’s gun, Huber attacking Rittenhouse with a skateboard and trying to wrestle away his gun, and Grosskreutz running at him with a pistol in his hand.
“A citizen in that position, given those indicators, would it be reasonable for them to believe they were about to be assaulted?” Black said. “I would argue yes.”
Nothing the prosecution has presented changes that assessment, indeed the prosecution’s own witnesses and the video evidence have reinforced that view, but it looks like for reasons known only to Judge Schroeder the trial will continue, and the defense will begin presenting its case today.
Judge Bruce Schroeder