Rittenhouse trial Day 10: Jury will consider if Rittenhouse provoked the events that led to shootings
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Friday in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, both the prosecution and defense met with the judge for the final time before they'll deliver closing arguments to the jury Monday. The state wants the to consider lesser charges, and also to rethink what led to the shootings in the first place.
The arguments provided a glimpse into the prosecution's likely strategy for closing arguments when they convinced the judge to allow the concept of provocation. The state will try to convince the jury that Kyle Rittenhouse raised his gun first, and that action caused the chain reaction of events that resulted in the two deadly shootings.
There were sharp exchanges throughout the day. Assistant DA James Kraus asked defense attorney Mark Richards about a claim made about tv technology. Richards replied, "It's common sense and judgement, Jim." Kraus pushed back, "There's no evidence on that." To which Richards asked, "Are you saying I'm lying?"
Not having a jury Friday meant there was no reason to feign civility in contentious moments as the defense and prosecution sparred off-the-cuff and often away from the microphones. At issue: Kraus asked the judge to have the jury consider that Kyle Rittenhouse provoked Joseph Rosenbaum, saying, "The defendant runs onto the scene, and then is seen by testimony and video evidence, gently putting the fire extinguisher down -he says he dropped it- but he places it on the ground and raises the gun. And raises it at Mr. Ziminski."
Kraus argued Rittenhouse set down a fire extinguisher in the Car Source parking lot, then raised his gun, thus provoking Rosenbaum to chase him; in other words, Kyle Rittenhouse caused the chain reaction that led to the shootings.
But for much of the trial, video and photos of that moment were limited. One image shown Friday was not clear. Judge Schroeder asked, "What am I… what am I looking at?" Kraus said, "I'm just pointing out this defense exhibit indicates he's pointing a weapon." Judge Schroeder said, "I haven't seen it clearly, ok?" Kraus replied, "I have."
Later Richards complained about the poor quality of the image with so much at stake. "Examiner Armstrong took 20 hours to manipulate that photograph to get that blurry mess up there on the screen."
Judge Schroeder asked Kraus, "So, that's your best picture, the one I saw over there?" He said, "No." Schroeder exploded, "Where's the best picture? Please. You're asking me to give an instruction, I want to see the best picture!"
The state said the drone video introduced midway through the trial does show the alleged provocation. So, the key figures in the trial huddled together around a tv screen, straining to see if Kyle Rittenhouse may have raised his gun first, with Rittenhouse himself just over the judge's shoulder.
Rittenhouse defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said, "You're going to see what you believe you see. So, the question is 'does that video provide enough information to give an instruction on provocation."
Judge Schroeder ultimately decided he would submit the case to the jury with the provocation instruction, telling the attorneys, "You can argue the strength or lack of strength of the respective evidence. So, I'll give that instruction."
The judge also ruled in the state's favor to give the jury instructions about Rittenhouse's duty to retreat.
Those jury instructions are expected to take 45 minutes Monday, then each legal team will have a total of two-and-a-half hours to make their closing arguments.