Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial: Defense rests its case

Midwest

KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation Now) — The defense has rested its case in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, setting the stage for closing arguments in the shootings that left Americans divided over whether he was a patriot taking a stand against lawlessness or a vigilante.

The judge indicated closing arguments could be held Monday. After closing arguments, names will be drawn from an old, brown lottery tumbler to decide which 12 jurors will deliberate and which ones will be dismissed as alternates. Eighteen people have been hearing the case. The panel appeared overwhelmingly white.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers completed their side of the case on Day 9 of the trial Thursday, a day after Rittenhouse testified in his homicide trial, detailing how he shot three men during a protest against police brutality in Kenosha last year.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” Rittenhouse testified.

Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz. He faces multiple charges, including intentional homicide. Rittenhouse, now 18, has argued that the men attacked him and he fired in self-defense.

On Tuesday, Rittenhouse sobbed as he recalled the events on Aug. 25, 2020, before he shot Rosenbaum, prompting the judge to call for a brief recess. After returning to the stand, Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum charged at him and threatened to kill him.

“If I would have let Mr. Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would have used it and killed me with it,” he said, “and probably killed more people.”

Rittenhouse also acknowledged that the strap holding his gun was in place and that he had both hands on the weapon.

The prosecution’s cross-examination later led to several tense exchanges between the attorneys and Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder. The judge criticized prosecutor Thomas Binger’s line of questioning about Rittenhouse’s post-arrest silence. He also said an incident two weeks before the shootings wouldn’t be permitted into evidence.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys said they would seek a mistrial with prejudice, meaning the case could not be re-filed, and Schroeder said he would consider their motion later.

Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to six charges including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree attempted intentional homicide.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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