November 19, 2021
Following a circus-like trial that saw everything from the key witness for the prosecution admitting he pointed a gun at Kyle Rittenhouse before he was shot to the prosecutor pointing an AR-15 at the jury with his finger on the trigger, Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges early Friday afternoon.
The murder trial spawned from a recorded episode during widespread rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25 of last year when the 17-year-old Rittenhouse used his AR to fight off three rioters who were attacking him with their fists, feet, a skateboard and a Glock pistol pointed at the youngster by star prosecution witness Gaige Grosskreutz.
In fact, a critical point in the trial came as Grosskreutz was on the witness stand and the jury was allowed to watch what transpired when Rittenhouse, who had tried multiple times to flee, tripped and was under attack by three men including the armed Grosskreutz. Under questioning by defense attorney Corey Chirafisi, Grosskreutz denied he pointed his pistol at Rittenhouse before the defendant fired. However, the video clearly showed that Rittenhouse didn’t fire until the gun was pointed at him from only a few feet away.
Chirafisi continued the questioning, asking the witness: “When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?”
"Correct," Grosskreutz answered.
“It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him, with your gun, now your hands down pointed at him, that he fired, right?” Chirafisi queried.
“Correct,” Grosskreutz answered.
At times during the trial, the prosecution seemed more than willing to cross normal legal boundaries in looking for a conviction, with prosecutor Thomas Binger drawing a sharp rebuke from Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder for questioning Rittenhouse about why he remained silent after his arrest.
“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence,” Schroder said. “You're right on the borderline, and you may be over it. But it better stop.”
The judge later addressed the incident again, saying, “I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence. That's basic law. It's been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.”
Prosecutors also called those rioting, looting and burning buildings in Kenosha at the time “heroes.” Once during the trial, Binger said Rittenhouse was “too cowardly” to use his fists to fight for his life. Later, he seemed to not understand that millions of people who carry firearms for self-defense aren’t doing so just so they can shoot someone, stating, “You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one who brought the gun.”
The trial drew much attention from those on both sides of the armed self-defense debate. While most who have been trained in self-defense laws saw the case as a simple episode of self-defense that never should have gone to trial, many in the celebrity realm dished out disdain and hatred for Rittenhouse and seemingly anyone who might believe him innocent of murder and assault.
Apparently without noting the irony, the NBA’s biggest crybaby, LeBron James, made fun of the 17-year-old defendant for breaking down on the stand under questioning by the prosecution.”
“What tears?????” James tweeted after watching the questioning. “I didn’t see one. Man, knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court.” James ended the post with three smiley faces with tears.
For his part, “woke” actor George Takei of Star Trek fame took offense at the judge disallowing the prosecutor’s attempt to bully Rittenhouse over using his right to remain silent.
“So, did this judge in the Rittenhouse cause just get up one day and say, ‘I’m going to make a total ass of myself before the entire nation’?” Takei tweeted. “Because that’s how he’s going to be remembered. As how not to act when you’re a judge.”
Not to be outdone, actress Rosanna Arquette set herself up as an expert on self-defense laws, while proving herself to be completely ignorant in the matter.
“Kyle Rittenhouse is a murderer,” she tweeted. “The End.”
Despite the widespread coverage, in which MSNBC blatantly chose to air the prosecution’s closing remarks but chose not to air closing remarks by the defense team, the judge’s instructions to the jury on determining whether Rittenhouse’s actions met the legal criteria of self-defense were quite clear.
“The state must prove by evidence that satisfies you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act lawfully in self-defense,” the judge said. “The law of self-defense allows the defendant to threaten or intentionally use force against another only if he believe that there was an actual or imminent unlawful interference with his own person, and he believed that the amount of force which he used or threatened to use was necessary to prevent or terminate the interference, and his beliefs were reasonable.”
In the end, jurors chose to do what was right, despite the fear of recrimination by those who they knew wouldn’t like the outcome and the possibility of unrest that could be spawned by their decision.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.