A look at the key points in Kiel Rittenhouse’s closing arguments

A look at the key points in Kiel Rittenhouse’s closing arguments

Madison, Wes. Lawyers in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial battled it out for the last time Monday during closing arguments, with prosecutors portraying Rittenhouse as an inexperienced agitator and defense attorneys insisting that the Illinois man be fired in self-defense.

Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Hopper and wounded Gigi Groskreutz during street disturbances in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020. He claimed it was self-defense, while prosecutors said he was an inexperienced, superior teenager who fomented violence by appearing with a rifle.

Here are some of the points gleaned from the shutdowns by Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger and Defense Attorney Mark Richards:

“the doctor”

Binger painted Rittenhouse as a fraud. He said Rittenhouse told people at the protest that he was an emergency medical technician when he was just a lifeguard.


“This is an emergency,” Binger said. “Everyone expects violence. Everyone is willing for people to get hurt or hurt or injured. However, the defendant is going to go in there and walk around pretending to be a doctor. It’s like a quack practicing without a license putting lives at risk… Someone had a wound on his hand. Yes. On the other hand, killing two people, he blew out the arm of Gigi Grosskruts.”

Active shooter

Binger also portrayed Rittenhouse as the active shooter and said that people in the crowd had a right to stop him. He said Rittenhouse denied shooting Rosenbaum when Grosskreutz and another man, Jason Lakowski, asked him what happened immediately after the shooting.

The crowd sees the defendant running with a gun. He lies to them. “He still has the gun in his possession,” Binger said. “It is entirely reasonable that this crowd at that moment thought he was a death threat again. I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, that in this case, the crowd has the right to try to stop the active shooter. They have the right to protect themselves. The defendant is not the only one in the world who has the right to self-defense.”


Richards said describing Rittenhouse as an active shooter is a “BS” and if he didn’t know better he might think Binger was a “grumpy defense attorney.”

“Everyone who got shot was attacking Kyle: one with a skateboard, one with his hands, one with his feet, one with a gun,” Richards said. “My client does not have to be beaten by these mobsters, or by the hands of Mr. Rosenbaum.”

the outside

Binger tried to persuade the jurors to see Rittenhouse, who lived in nearby Antioch, Illinois, as one of a crowd of strangers who had come to Kenosha to play the soldier during the protest, ignoring barriers, curfews, and closed interstate exits.

“These guys with the AR-15 are just wannabe soldiers who act tough, trying to make a personal connection to this event, furthering their personal agenda, just a small part of the deluge of chaos we’ve seen here in Kenosha trying to feed them with what we’ve been going through, despite all we’ve done to try Tell them, go away, stay outside.”


Richards responded that Rittenhouse came to town to help, stating that he had helped clean up graffiti from a high school before the shooting.

“Kyle feels about this community,” he said.

Napoleon complex

Binger focused heavily on Rosenbaum’s actions, trying to counter Rittenhouse’s assertions that Rosenbaum was causing trouble all night long, swinging a chain, telling people to shoot him, hurling racial insults and setting fires. Binger described Rosenbaum as a little guy – he stood at 5 feet 4 – with a “Napoleon complex” but he wasn’t quite as mischievous.

“Oh, let me tell you all the terrible things Joseph Rosenbaum has done,” said the attorney general. “He overturned a potty pot no one was in. Swinging a chain. Lighting a . . . trash burning . . . . oh, and he said some bad words. He said an N-word. If he were alive today . But I can’t because the defendant killed him. But that’s how we deal with people who do these things. When you commit arson, we prosecute you. We don’t execute you on the street.”


Richards described Rosenbaum as “irrational and crazy” and said he chased Rittenhouse until he was surrounded. If Rosenbaum had taken Rittenhouse’s revolver from him, Richards said, he would have shot the others.

“Mr. Rosenbaum made a fatal mistake that day, chasing Kyle Rittenhouse in the corner,” said Richards. He ran as far as he could, and shot four times in three-quarters of a second. Rosenbaum on that weapon, I wouldn’t think for a minute that he wouldn’t have used it against someone else . . . Mr. Rosenbaum was bent on making trouble that night.”

did you do that?

Binger ended his arguments by asking the jurors to ask themselves whether they would act like Rittenhouse in the same situation.

“Would a sane person have done the same?” Binger said. Would you have engaged in the reckless behavior that led to this course of events? Would you have gone out after the curfew with an AR-15 looking for trouble? Would you have targeted other people? Would you have tried to use the gun to protect an empty parking lot? No sane person to do these things.”


10 million reasons to lie

Richards focused on Grosskreutz’s testimony that he did not know his own pistol had a shot in the chamber when he ran to Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz sued the city of Kenosha alleging that police conspired with an armed militia on the night he was shot. He is seeking $10 million.

“Grosskreutz won’t say anything that puts him in the spotlight,” Richards said. “Grosskreutz is the person who has 10 million reasons to lie.”


Richards argued that state witnesses did indeed assist in the Rittenhouse case, noting that the police investigator seemed to agree that Rosenbaum came out of hiding to chase Rittenhouse; A coroner testified that Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum at close range, within 4 feet, bolstering Rosenbaum’s defense argument for Rittenhouse’s rifle; Others in the Rittenhouse Group testified that they had permission to guard the car dealership.


Richards told jurors that a member of the Rittenhouse group, Joan Fedler, testified that she had not seen Rittenhouse behave inappropriately toward anyone.

Focus is out of focus

Richards criticized the prosecution’s use of an enlarged image taken from a drone video that an analyst at the state crime lab testified to have taken 20 hours to produce. Prosecutors said the enlarged image shows Rittenhouse aiming his rifle at protesters, an act they say set off the chain of events that left two people dead and a third injured.

“What he did during those twenty hours was to deceive,” Richards said, urging the jurors to refuse to look at the photo. “And he’s making an out-of-focus exhibition.”

Prosecutors said it took 20 hours for the analyst to work on the entire video, not just the zoomed-in image.


political fire

Richards said Binger’s office never re-evaluated his case after video evidence showed that Rittenhouse acted in self-defence. He said prosecutors wanted to hold someone responsible for spreading “horror” on the streets of Kenosha.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a political issue. . . But the attorney general’s office is going ahead with this case because they need someone to be responsible. They need someone. . . He says, he did it, he is the one who brought horror to Kenosha. Kyle Rittenhouse is not that individual.”


Associated Press writers Amy Forletti in Minneapolis and Scott Power in Madison contributed to this report.


Find AP’s full coverage of the Rittenhouse experience: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

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