Rittenhouse trial: Jurors hear impassioned closing arguments ahead of deliberation
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After a marathon day of closing arguments, jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse case will begin deliberating Tuesday. Monday, the state and defense made their final plea to jurors. Each side had two and a half hours to make their case.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger spoke first. He wanted the jury to see Kyle Rittenhouse as an armed-vigilante who provoked the situation and killed two unarmed men. Over and over Binger showed the jury part of a done video, taken shortly before the Joseph Rosenbaum shooting.
"The defendant sets the fire extinguisher down with his left hand and then brings his left hand over to the gun and raises it and points," Binger said as the clip played for jurors.
This is the video the jury is watching now. State says it shows Rittenhouse point his gun at someone, then Rosenbaum charges him. State says Rosenbaum was trying to stop him.#KyleRittenhousepic.twitter.com/5qxFSKWMf5— Kristen Barbaresi (@KristenBarbar) November 15, 2021
But later in the defense's closing argument, Rittenhouse's defense attorney Mark Richards lashed out at the provocation claim, saying of Binger, "When his case explodes in his face, now he comes out with provocation."
Binger: "When the defense provokes the incident, he loses the right to self-defense. You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create. That's critical right here. If you're the one who is threatening others, you lose the right to claim self-defense."#KyleRittenhousepic.twitter.com/QqPX36Z33t— Adam Rife (@AdamRifeReports) November 15, 2021
Richards tore into the prosecution's case, likening the state's push to convince the jury Rittenhouse provoked the threats as an act of desperation. Richards said, "Did you hear one word out of Mr. Binger's mouth about provocation? You didn't. Because it was never said."
Binger said the video proves Rittenhouse pointed his gun at someone, and that’s why Joseph Rosenbaum ran at him. "Under Wisconsin law you're not allowed to run around and point your gun at people," Binger said. "That's the provocation. This is what starts this incident."
But Richards countered the state's claim that Rosenbaum did not threaten Rittenhouse that night, saying Rosenbaum was four feet away and closing in on Rittenhouse when he was shot. Richards used a tape measure to stand four feet from the jury box as he said, "Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client, and going to kill him, and take his gun, and carry out the threats he made."
On the stand earlier in the week, Rittenhouse had testified Rosenbaum threatened him earlier that night. But Binger asked for proof. "The defense pinned a lot of their case on a threat they can't prove," Binger said. "It's not there. It didn't happen. It's not on video."
After Rosenbaum was shot, Binger argued the crowd thought Rittenhouse was an active shooter. But Richards pushed back against that claim. He showed video of Rittenhouse running several blocks without shooting anyone, claiming he was trying to reach police in order to turn himself in. Richards said, "Kyle is zero threat to anyone. This active shooter BS is something Mr. Binger is trying to sell you people."
In the state's closing argument, Binger hailed Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz as heroes who tried to stop the threat but ended up getting shot. "That crowd did something I'm not sure I would have the courage to do," Binger said. "Anthony Huber was different, jump-kick man was different, Gaige Grosskreutz was different."
Rittenhouse had testified he shot Grosskreutz because he pointed a handgun. Binger called Rittenhouse a hypocrite. "The hypocrisy of the defense," Binger said. "Anyone with a gun is a threat, unless you’re the defendant."
But Richards later said Rittenhouse did not shoot Grosskreutz until Grosskreutz pointed his handgun at him. Grosskreutz originally did not tell law enforcement he was holding the gun when he was shot. He has since filed a lawsuit as a result of his injuries. Richards said, "Grosskreutz has $10 million reasons to lie. And we all know he did lie."
After more than two hours of arguing his case, Binger urged jurors to convict. "No reasonable person would have done what the defendant did and you should find him guilty."
And at the end of the defense's argument, Richards again told the jury Rittenhouse was threatened and acted in self-defense, and that those actions are protected under the law. "Ladies and gentlemen, it's a tough choice, but the evidence only leads to one conclusion: that is Kyle Rittenhouse's conduct on August 25 was privileged based upon the actions of Mr. Rosenbaum and others."
Richards: Ladies and gentlemen, that's the case. There was no threatening behavior that started this. Mr. Rosenbaum was hell bent on causing trouble that night...Kyle Rittenhouse's behavior was protected under the law in the state of Wisconsin.#KyleRittenhouse— Kristen Barbaresi (@KristenBarbar) November 15, 2021
The prosecution got the first and last word Monday because it has the burden of proof. After the defense’s closing arguments, Binger's co-counsel, James Kraus, spent 30 minutes making a rebuttal argument.
The jury will return to court at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. Then the 18 jurors will be whittled to the 12 that will decide the case. They'll then deliberate the five remaining counts against Rittenhouse.
Watch all of Monday's court proceedings below: