Rittenhouse Defense Asks Judge for Mistrial

'I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,' teen testifies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2021 11:58 AM CST
Updated Nov 10, 2021 6:00 PM CST
Rittenhouse Takes the Stand, Sobs
Kyle Rittenhouse leaves the stand after his testimony during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.   (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)

Update: This file has been updated with the defense request for a mistrial. Kyle Rittenhouse's defense team asked the judge to declare a mistrial Wednesday after the teen took the stand in his trial in Kenosha. Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi accused lead prosecutor Thomas Binger of "prosecutorial overreach" with a line of questioning about the teen's silence in the months before the trial, the Hill reports. With the jury out of the room, Judge Bruce Schroeder chastised prosecutors for the line of questioning and for an apparent reference to a cellphone video from weeks before the shooting, in which Rittenhouse said he wished he had his gun so he could shoot people outside a CVS, the New York Times reports. The judge disallowed the video in a pretrial hearing.

Schroeder said he would consider the motion, but he allowed Binger to resume cross-examination after warning: "There better not be another incident." Earlier, Rittenhouse said: "I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself," after taking the stand. The judge had to call a recess of around 20 minutes after the 18-year-old broke down in tears while describing the events of Aug. 25 last year, when he killed two men and wounded a third during protests in the Wisconsin city, the Times reports. Rittenhouse testified that the first man he shot, Joseph Rosenbaum, had sworn at him and threatened to kill him earlier that night, the AP reports.

He began sobbing after saying Rosenbaum had "cornered him" in a parking lot. Rittenhouse testified that he thought a plastic bag Rosenbaum threw at him was a chain he had seen the man with earlier. Before opening fire, "I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun," Rittenhouse testified. A forensic pathologist testified Tuesday that Rosenbaum was shot four times at close range. Earlier Wednesday, Rittenhouse testified that he hadn't been looking for trouble when he went to Kenosha, around 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Ill. He said he wanted to protect property from rioters and help the injured.

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The teen—who used a semiautomatic rifle a friend had bought on his behalf because he was 17 years old at the time—said he "didn't intend to kill" Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, who hit him with a skateboard. "I intended to stop the people who were attacking me," Rittenhouse said, per CNN. Rittenhouse testified that he shot Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived, after seeing a pistol in his hand. Legal experts say a conviction on homicide and attempted homicide will depend on whether jurors believe the teen's claims of self-defense, the Washington Post reports. He also faces a charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under the age of 18. (More Kyle Rittenhouse stories.)

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