Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts.
The jury reached a verdict in the Kenosha shooter trial on Friday after four days of deliberation.
Rittenhouse, 18, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and other counts for killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz on August 25, 2020.
Demonstrators have been gathered outside the Kenosha Courthouse all week, as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers called in 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to counter the expected protests.
The verdict marks the explosive end of a trial that has been riddled with controversy and drama that has threatened to derail proceedings more than once.
Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts
Kyle Rittenhouse is seen with his AR-15 patrolling the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin on the night he killed two men and injured a third
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (left), 36, with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on August 25, 2020. Moments later, as Rittenhouse was running down a street, he shot and killed Anthony Huber (right), 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin
No day was more dramatic in the trial than the day on which Rittenhouse himself took the stand – sobbing as he recounted the night of August 25, 2020, insisting he never wanted to kill anyone but that he had to to protect his life.
Rosenbaum was grabbing for his gun, he told the court, and if he got it, he believed the older man would kill first him with it and then countless others.
Rising to cross-examine the teen, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, quickly found himself the target of the judge’s ire as he questioned the fact that Rittenhouse had not told his story until now.
He suggested that the now 18-year-old had ‘tailored’ his account to fit the facts presented in court – a suggestion that saw Judge Bruce Schroeder explode in rage.
Binger he said, ‘was violating a constitutional right’ in questioning Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent. ‘You are close to the line,’ he shouted, ‘You may have crossed it.’
Moments later Binger attempted to reference evidence excluded by the judge in a pre-trial motion, stirring Judge Schroeder’s anger once more and prompting the defense to move for a mistrial on grounds of ‘prosecutorial misconduct’ and ‘over-reach.’
Addressing the court, defense co-counsel Corey Chirafisi accused Binger of trying to get the case thrown on a mistrial to avoid an acquittal and so that he could ‘get another kick of the cat.’
The judge took the defense’s motion for a mistrial with prejudice – meaning the case could not be re-tried – under consideration.
Two of the six original charges were dismissed before they ever went to the jury when Judge Schroeder tossed first a curfew violation count and then the one charge that seemed all but a slam-dunk for the prosecution: possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
The gun charge was dismissed on the grounds that the state failed to satisfy the entire statute which, in Wisconsin, requires not only that the person be under 18 but that the rifle be short-barreled – Rittenhouse’s AR-15 was not.
Kyle Rittenhouse broke down on the witness stand last week as recalled the moment he was ‘ambushed’ by Joseph Rosenbaum the night he shot him dead
Judge Bruce Schroeder shouted down Prosecutor Thomas Binger last week in a moment of high courtroom drama
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told the jury during closing arguments that Rittenhouse was looking for the ‘thrill’ of telling people what to do, ‘running around with an AR-15’ with ‘neither the honor nor the legal right to do so’. Binger held Rittenhouse’s AR-15 aloft as he spoke, pointing it on the corner of the court
Defense attorney Mark Richards began closing statements Monday afternoon claiming Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger ‘lied to the jury’s faces’
The chaos of the night was only underlined by testimony from the two Kenosha police officers who failed to recognize Rittenhouse’s efforts to surrender.
In a breathtaking misreading of the situation the officers not only told Rittenhouse to get back from their vehicle as he tried to approach, just moments after shooting all three men, but pepper sprayed him as he got closer and attempted to hand himself in.
Officer Pep Moretti took the stand and tried to justify the failure. He told the court, ‘It’s not uncommon for an officer to be ambushed.
‘A war-zone is how I would describe it. We were outnumbered and completely surrounded. Somebody advancing on us with a rifle…we take it as a threat.’
In video footage shown in court Rittenhouse could be seen walking down the middle of the road, occasionally adjusting his rifle – he later explained he was trying to keep it behind him so as NOT to appear a threat.
Moretti recalled that he drew his weapon. His partner Jason Kreuger got out of the vehicle and went to the trunk to get his steel plate carrier vest – capable of withstanding rounds from an AR-15.
Kreuger told the court that he watched Rittenhouse approach, ‘I was giving him verbal commands to keep away from my squad, to stay back. I had also grabbed my pepper spray and was going to use it if the individual continued to approach.
‘I’d never met him before. He had a rifle. I just do not want someone coming up to my squad car in that scene, where there’s gun shots going off, that I do not know,’
Asked if they thought Rittenhouse was surrendering both officers insisted that they did not. They said they believed that there was still an ‘active shooter’ to be apprehended elsewhere, even though they admitted hearing Rittenhouse say, ‘something about a shooting.’
Moretti claimed that he had ‘never’ encountered somebody ‘with their hands up continuing to advance [and] ignoring all instructions.’
Defense attorney Chirafisi mocked the officers’ insistence that Rittenhouse did not appear to be surrendering because he wasn’t falling to his knees or putting his hands on his heads, shouting in disbelief, ‘You weren’t given him any instructions to!’
Clearly embarrassed Kreuger admitted that he only started to ‘put it all together’ when he was saw video recorded by Daily Call Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss later that same night.
Chirafisi asked, ‘Do you tell anybody [then], ‘I’m putting these together and the guy that had his hands up that’s the guy we’re probably looking for?’
In his opening statements Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger had sought to paint the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse as a ‘chaos tourist’ drawn to Kenosha ‘looking for trouble’ as the city burned following the police shooting of black man, Jacob Black. He told the jury that they would show Rittenhouse to be nothing but a ‘wannabe soldier’ and fantasist who was no more a medic than a ‘quack doctor.’
Plenty people were armed that night, he said, but only Rittenhouse shot anyone dead.
Speaking ahead of the trial he described Rittenhouse as ‘hunting people’ that night – a startling image but one that failed to materialize across six days of state testimony during which the state seemed to make the case for the defense more often than it did its own.
Certainly, three of the state’s key witnesses hurt the prosecution more than they helped.
Daily Caller Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss was a named complainant whose safety Rittenhouse was charged with endangering when he shot Rosenbaum four times with McGinniss all but in the line of fire.
A key eyewitness, McGinniss testified that Rosenbaum had chased Rittenhouse down then ‘lunged for the muzzle’ of his rifle in the moment he shot.
Binger and his co-chair Assistant District Attorney James Kraus maintained that Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum as he ‘crumpled’ forward, his pelvis shattered from the first shot. The image painted was of a man who was no longer any threat – a man who had never been a threat in the first place, a ‘small dog,’ Binger said in closing, ‘Bark, bark, bark! He ain’t really ever going to do anything.’
According to the state Rittenhouse ‘tracked’ Rosenbaum with his gun, shooting as he fell, and shot three more times until he delivered the ‘kill shot’ to his back.
But McGinniss told a different tale. He told the court, ‘He was lunging, falling, I would use those as synonymous terms – he threw his momentum forward towards the weapon. His momentum was going forward and that’s the point in which he [Rittenhouse] fired.’
Military veteran Ryan Balch, a self-proclaimed vigilante and ‘boogaloo boi’ was also armed with an AR-15 that night and spent much of the evening alongside Rittenhouse.
He told the court that Rosenbaum was ‘hyper-aggressive and acting out in a violent manner,’ that evening.
He said that Rittenhouse was by his side when Rosenbaum, ‘got in his face’ ‘yelling and screaming.’
Most damning of all, he told the court that Rosenbaum had threatened to kill any of the group should he get them alone.
According to Balch, he said, ‘If I catch any of you guys alone tonight, I’m going to f****ing kill you.’ Balch testified that when Rosenbaum said this it was within earshot of Rittenhouse.
The state tried to say that threat never happened – pointing out it was the only moment of the evening not captured on video.
But Balch’s testimony did damage.
Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, was the man who should have been the state’s star witness and the sole survivor of Rittenhouse’s shootings that night
Rittenhouse is seen on the ground before shooting Grosskreutz. The prosecution presented him as a peaceable paramedic – the real deal where Rittenhouse was a wannabe, who falsely claimed to be an EMT. Grosskreutz, they insisted, was only there that evening to administer medical aid
Images of Grosskreutz’s injuries on the night of the riot were shown to the jury on Monday
Then there was Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, – the man who should have been the state’s star witness and the sole survivor of Rittenhouse’s shootings that night. The prosecution presented him as a peaceable paramedic – the real deal where Rittenhouse was a wannabe, who falsely claimed to be an EMT. Grosskreutz, they insisted, was only there that evening to administer medical aid.
The state attempted to paint him as a do-gooder who posed no threat when Rittenhouse shot him in the arm at close range shortly after shooting Anthony Huber dead.
Gaige Grosskreutz was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse on August 25, 2020 and his right bicep was almost entirely blown away. Grosskreutz, the state’s star witness, took the stand Monday morning
But under cross examination Grosskreutz was forced to admit that he had lied to police in his original statement when he did not admit that he was armed with a Glock 27.
It was also revealed that he left this fact out of two lawsuits which he has brought, one against the city of Kenosha claiming $10million and one in Federal court.
In his closing defense attorney Mark Richards repeatedly referred to the ’10million reasons he had to lie.’
DailyMail.com revealed that the man lionized by the prosecution is a career criminal with a laundry list of violent prior offenses, including felony burglary and two charges of possessing a gun while intoxicated and with a history of lying to, and failing to co-operate with, police.
In a stunning piece of courtroom drama defense co-chair Chirafisi not only exposed Grosskreutz’s lies on the stand but converted the state’s witness into his own by forcing Grosskreutz’s admission that he was pointing his own gun at Rittenhouse and advancing on him when he was shot.
Showing images from the moment he was shot, Chirafisi pointed out, ‘You would agree that when you were three to five feet from him [Rittenhouse] with your hands up in the air, he didn’t fire did he?’
Chirafisi continued, ‘It wasn’t until you were advancing on him with your gun pointed at him that he fired?’
Grosskreutz responded, ‘Correct.’
Grosskreutz later went on national television and backtracked on his sworn testimony.
What charges did Kyle Rittenhouse face?
Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them and wounding the third, during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. Rittenhouse has argued that he fired in self-defense after the men attacked him.
Here’s a look at the charges that prosecutors carried into court, as well as lesser charges that the judge could put before the jury in final instructions:
COUNT 1: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESS HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This felony charge is connected to the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot. Bystander video shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse through a parking lot and throwing a plastic bag at him. Rittenhouse flees behind a car and Rosenbaum follows. Video introduced at trial showed Rittenhouse wheeling around and firing as Rosenbaum chased him. Richie McGinniss, a reporter who was trailing Rittenhouse, testified that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse’s gun.
Reckless homicide differs from intentional homicide in that prosecutors aren’t alleging Rittenhouse intended to murder Rosenbaum. Instead, they’re alleging Rittenhouse caused Rosenbaum’s death in circumstances showing an utter disregard for human life.
Former Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said prosecutors’ decision to charge reckless instead of intentional homicide shows they don’t know what happened between Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum and what might have been going through Rittenhouse’s mind when he pulled the trigger.
The charge is punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The dangerous weapon modifier carries an additional five years.
Prosecutors asked Judge Bruce Schroeder to let the jury also consider a lesser charge, second-degree reckless homicide, that does not require a finding that Rittenhouse acted with utter disregard for human life. It’s punishable by up to 25 years in prison. But after Rittenhouse’s attorneys objected, Schroeder said he did not plan to give that instruction. He said he expected that a guilty verdict on that count would be overturned because the defense objected to adding it.
COUNT 2: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This felony charge is connected to the Rosenbaum shooting. McGinniss told investigators he was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum. The charge is punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier carries an additional five years.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to let the jury consider a second-degree version of this charge. The difference is that the second-degree version doesn’t require a finding that Rittenhouse acted with utter disregard for human life. Schroeder said he was inclined to allow that instruction, though he didn’t make a final ruling. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
COUNT 3: FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
Video shows an unknown man leaping at Rittenhouse and trying to kick him seconds before Anthony Huber moves his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appears to fire two rounds at the man but apparently misses as the man runs away.
This charge is a felony punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier again would add up to five more years.
Schroeder said he would decline prosecutors’ request that jurors be allowed to consider this charge in the second degree.
COUNT 4: FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This charge is connected to Huber’s death. Video shows Rittenhouse running down the street after shooting Rosenbaum when he falls to the street. Huber leaps at him and swings a skateboard at his head and neck and tries to grab Rittenhouse’s gun before Rittenhouse fires. The criminal complaint alleges Rittenhouse aimed the weapon at Huber.
Intentional homicide means just that – a person killed someone and meant to do it. Bucher said that if Rittenhouse pointed the gun at Huber and pulled the trigger that would amount to intentional homicide. However, self-defense would trump the charge.
‘Why I intended to kill this individual makes the difference,’ Bucher said.
The count carries a mandatory life sentence. The weapons modifier would add up to five years.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to give the jury the option of second-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and second-degree reckless homicide in Huber’s death. The defense objected only to the second-degree reckless homicide charge, and Schroeder said he ’embraced’ that argument.
Second-degree intentional homicide is a fallback charge when a defendant believed he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that it was necessary to use force – but either belief was unreasonable. It’s punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
The first-degree reckless homicide charge sought in Huber’s death matches an original charge in Rosenbaum’s death – it would require jurors to decide that Rittenhouse caused Huber’s death with an utter disregard for human life – and is punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
COUNT 5: ATTEMPTED FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
This is the charge for Rittenhouse shooting Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm seconds after he shot Huber, and as Grosskreutz came toward him holding a pistol. Grosskreutz survived. Video shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at Grosskreutz and firing a single round.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years. The weapons modifier would add up to five more years.
Prosecutors asked that the jury be allowed to consider lesser counts in the Grosskreutz shooting: second-degree attempted intentional homicide, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree reckless endangerment. Defense attorneys didn’t oppose the first, but did oppose adding the reckless endangerment counts. Schroeder didn’t rule but said he was inclined to side with prosecutors.
The possible punishment for attempted second-degree intentional homicide is 30 years.
DISMISSED – COUNT 6: POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18
Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle. He was 17 years old on the night of the shootings. Wisconsin law prohibits minors from possessing firearms except for hunting. It was not clear on Friday what Schroeder intends to tell jurors about that charge.
The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months behind bars.
Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed count 6 from Rittenhouse’s rap sheet Monday morning.
COUNT 7: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH AN EMERGENCY ORDER FROM STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Rittenhouse was charged with being out on the streets after an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by the city, a minor offense that carries a fine of up to $200. Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge during the second week of trial after the defense argued that prosecutors hadn’t offered enough evidence to prove it
The state sought to present both him and Huber as ‘heroes’ – men who rushed into the line of danger one of them paying for it with his life.
And they sought to paint Rittenhouse as the provocateur, a kid who wanted to be famous, swaggering around ‘like a hero in a Western,’ pointing his gun at people. He inserted himself in a volatile situation, they said, armed with deadly force with fatal consequences.
But Richards told the jury this was a ‘lie’ as he addressed the jury in closing statements Monday afternoon.
‘This is not a game,’ he bellowed. ‘It’s my client’s life. We don’t play fast and loose with the facts, pretending that Mr. Rosenbaum was citizen A, number one guy,
‘He was a bad man. He was there that night causing trouble. He was a rioter. And my client had to deal with him that night alone.’
The jury sat rapt as Richards spoke, studying the images and video that he showed, their attention never wavering despite the long day
Binger has continued to clash with Judge Schroeder throughout the trial and even in pre-trial hearings
Richards accused Binger’s claim that Rittenhouse somehow ‘provoked’ Rosenbaum by pointing his gun at someone else as a desperate measure for which the prosecutor reached when the case ‘explodes in his face.’
The way Richards told it it was simple. He said, ‘Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client and going to kill him and take his gun and carry out the threats he had made [earlier that night].’
Richards said he was ‘glad’ that his client had done so.
Huber was shot, he said, because he was attacking Rittenhouse with his skateboard and grabbing for his gun.
Grosskreutz was shot because he advanced on Rittenhouse with his own gun, a Glock 27, pointed at him.
Rosenbaum was ‘hell bent on causing trouble,’ that night Richards said and that is what he did.
He said, ‘There are tragic parts of it, but Kyle Rittenhouse’s behavior was protected under the law of self-defense.
‘There was no evidence that he was an active shooter other than Mr. Binger calling him that and there is no evidence that any of the individuals were attacking an active shooter [as the state contends].
‘And if they want to be the heroes, they’d better be right, and they weren’t.
‘Kyle Rittenhouse shot Mr. Rosenbaum because he was attacking Kyle. Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle. One with a skateboard, one with his hands, one with his feet and one with a gun.’
He added that Rosenbaum might have been little but, ‘he could take a 17-year-old kid nine times til Tuesday.’
Black Lives Matter protestors gathered outside the courthouse all week
Supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse stand in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates the Rittenhouse trial on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Protesters argue outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wis., during the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year
An armed security guard wearing riot gear was among those outside. The guard told DailyMail.com he had been hired by a TV station to provide security for journalists who had been threatened recently
While the jury was quietly tucked away deliberating Kyle Rittenhouse’s fate, decorum outside the Wisconsin courthouse dissolved into angry protests on Tuesday with the arrival of BLM activists and Second Amendment enthusiasts.
On the steps of the courthouse, protesters chanted in each other’s faces in front of Jacob Blake’s uncle. It was Blake’s death by cop that was the reason for the protest on August 20 that attracted Rittenhouse to Kenosha.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the Missouri couple who thwarted BLM protesters away from their property last year by toting their own guns, were there again to show Rittenhouse their support.
The sheriff’s department and police department issued a statement to try to quell the town’s anxiety, saying there were no plans yet for road closures, curfews or any other kind of restriction, but that safety remained the priority.
500 National Guardsmen remain on stand-by near Kenosha, ready to step in if the situation escalates.
‘The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department understand and recognize the anxiety surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
‘There are many questions being asked from our community as well as media outlets.
Our departments have worked together and made coordinated efforts over the last year to improve response capabilities to large scale events.