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Prosecution Cross-Examines Kyle Rittenhouse in Homicide Trial; Kyle Rittenhouse Testifies in his Own Defense in Homicide Trial. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired November 10, 2021 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY: -- about what happened that night, correct?
KYLE RITTENHOUSE: I do my best to avoid what people write on the internet. A majority of it is not true.
BINGER: You have also sat here through eight days of trial, correct?
BINGER: And you've had the opportunity to watch all of the videos. You have been played in this truck?
BINGER: Sir, if you could please let me finish my question before answering, and I will do my best to let you finish your answer before I go on to the next question. Fair?
BINGER: You've also had the opportunity to listen to the testimony of all 37 witnesses that have testified in this trial so far, correct?
BINGER: And after all of that, now, you are telling us your side of the story, correct?
BRUCE SCHROEDER, JUDGE: Let me -- folks to elaborate for just a second. Please don't talk about the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I'm John King in Washington. Judge Schroeder, taking a brief break here during the dramatic testimony of Kyle Rittenhouse in his own defense at the trial. Mr. Rittenhouse, just acknowledging the cross examination from prosecutors just began moments ago, acknowledging four times yes, he said answered yes, in the affirmative.
He used deadly force in Kenosha, but he says it was in self-defense. Our CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams is with me. Dramatic testimony first as he came up as a defense witness, where he said yes, I was involved in this horrible violence, but he says in self-defense and the prosecutor got right to it getting answering four times. Yes. Did you use deadly force?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. And that is the reason why John, you almost never see witnesses, take the stand in their own defense. It's a common sense matter. Most people think that's --
KING: I'm sorry Elliot we're going back to the court room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's commenting got my clients right to remain silent.
BINGER: No your honor. I am making the point that after hearing everything in the case now he's tailoring his story to what has already been introduced.
SCHROEDER: The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendants silence and that is -- and you're right. You're right on the -- you're right on the borderline. And you may -- you may be over but it better stop. Understood. This is -- I can't think of the case the initial case but it's this is not permitted. Alright -- come in please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jury coming back into the room now the judge chastising the prosecutor saying that by asking the questions he was asking he was essentially exposing that the defendant has decided to waive his constitutional right and testify. The prosecutor making the case that Kyle Rittenhouse is doctoring his story based on media an account of since that day, the jury is coming back into the courtroom now.
Elliot Williams is still with me, the judge essentially just told the prosecutor you have crossed the line, we're going to go back and continue the trial. But that was a warning.
WILLIAMS: It's a very, very dangerous line to tip toe up to because look, the defendant has the right not to testify. And as I was saying right before we broke, most defendants don't testify partly for that reason. When you start saying as a prosecutor things like hey, wait a second, why are you here testifying today that steps up to his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent?
And I think that's probably the right ruling from the court. It's a blurry line, but probably the right one for the judge's strike there.
KING: A blurry line and right out of the box in this testimony where if you're the prosecutor, you have listened to compelling testimony from Mr. Rittenhouse in his own defense, saying that he was there to provide medical advice. He was here to put out fires. He thought he was under attack.
And he fired in self-defense, the prosecutor right out of the box, trying to change that if the jurors had been convinced if they somehow became sympathetic. He's coming right out of the box. Here we go back to the prosecution cross examination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BINGER: -- with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle that evening, correct?
BINGER: You had it loaded with 30 rounds of full metal jacket ammunition, correct?
BINGER: That weapon with 30 rounds is capable of killing at least 30 people, correct?
BINGER: You had arranged to have Dominic Black purchase that weapon for you in -- Smith, Wisconsin, in early May of 2020. Is that correct?
RITTENHOUSE: We were up north shooting and not shooting we were up north going camping and Dominic Black brought his rifle. And he was -- we were talking like hey, what if we get a rifle for me? I'll give you the money. You can purchase it. It's yours until I'm 18. So I bought the rifle for Dominic and I can use it. But once I'm 18 we can do a private sale and we can have it turned over to my name once I turned 18.
BINGER: Because you knew as a 17-year-old you could not have that gun correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I knew I could not buy that gun.
BINGER: You knew you could not possess that gun also correct?
BINGER: You weren't aware that under Wisconsin law --
SCHROEDER: It struck the jury later about the law. So and that he wouldn't what he thinks on the subject is not dispositive anyways, so it was unlawful for him to purchase the gun.
BINGER: It wasn't just unlawful for you to purchase it. It was unlawful for you to bring it home, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: In Illinois, I wasn't able to bring it on because I didn't have a FOID card a Firearm Owner Identification Card in Illinois. BINGER: You knew in Illinois, that you couldn't get that until you turned 18, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: No, you can get a FOID card at 16 in Illinois.
BINGER: But you didn't have one.
RITTENHOUSE: I did not.
BINGER: And even after this gun was purchased for you in May, you never got one after that either, did you?
RITTENHOUSE: Actually I applied for a FOID card in May of 2020. But due to the charges, and there was a backlog in Illinois, because for the FOID card, but after you filed the charges against me, it was denied because of the charges here in this state.
BINGER: You found out about that after you're criminally charged in this case?
RITTENHOUSE: I found out about this in November of 2020. A letter was sent to my old resident.
BINGER: So you knew that without that FOID card the gun could not go back to your residence in Illinois, correct?
BINGER: And you agree that the gun would be kept at Dominic Black's stepfathers' house here in Kenosha, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: Because he had a safe. Yes.
BINGER: And you agree that you wouldn't have access to that gun, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: We agreed that the only time I would use the gun is when I would -- when I was with him. And we would go to like the Bristol shooting range or up north to his land.
BINGER: But the only time prior to the night of August 25th, 2020 that you ever used that gun was up in Lady Smith, correct?
BINGER: So you didn't go to the Bristol Shooting Range ever?
RITTENHOUSE: I did not with that rifle but I did.
BINGER: Pay attention to my question, please. You didn't ever go to the Bristol Shooting Range with that gun, correct?
BINGER: And you picked out that gun because Dominic -- correct?
BINGER: You could have if you wanted to choose from any number of guns that were for sale, fair enough?
RITTENHOUSE: Those were at that store. There weren't many but yes.
BINGER: I'm sure the store -- Lady Smith isn't the only store that sells guns, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: That was no, it was a statement.
BINGER: Isn't it correct, Mr. Rittenhouse that there are other places to purchase guns besides that one store in Lady Smith, Wisconsin?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe so. But that's where we're at. So that's where we got the gun.
BINGER: And you -- if you wanted to could have given Dominic Black money to purchase a gun at other locations fair?
RITTENHOUSE: -- across my mind but now that you say yeah.
BINGER: Why did you pick or want Dominic Black to buy for you an AR-15 as opposed to a pistol or shotgun or some other type of rifle?
RITTENHOUSE: I cannot legally possess or carry a pistol because I'm not 18 in Wisconsin -- I believe it's 18 in Wisconsin for a pistol. But with the lock with the rifle, I knew -- I knew I could possess that rifle. I knew I couldn't buy it. But I knew I could like take it to like the shooting range or possess it.
It was shotguns they didn't have any shotguns in stock. That was my original plan to get a shotgun for trap shooting. But there weren't any at that Lady Smith store and I didn't want to go to Walmart and buy one.
BINGER: So your understanding at that time was that Wisconsin law prohibited you as a 17 year old from possessing a pistol. But you could have an AR-15?
BINGER: What was that understanding based on?
RITTENHOUSE: Well, the understanding was based on when we would go up north we were -- it was me, Dominic and my sister and we were allowed to carry the rifles around. And the officers over there said it was fine.
BINGER: I'm going to move to strike this here say what officers would have told us --
SCHROEDER: -- what the source of this knowledge was. It's not admissible, and none of this is frankly, and that's why I interrupted before. What the defendant believes the law to be? What the district attorney believes the law to be? What the defense believes a lot to be are irrelevant.
SCHROEDER: I will tell you when I instruct you what the law of Wisconsin is pertaining to the possession of a firearm by a person under 18. And that'll be the source of your knowledge. I'm allowing the testimony right now because it bears on.
There's an old maxim under the law of ignorance, the IRS known exquisite ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Ignorance of the criminal law is not an excuse. If you commit a criminal act, whether you know, is criminal or not, you're responsible for your conduct and because you're responsible to know the law.
It's not relevant, except in this case, there are specific issues about his awareness and knowledge about certain conduct that is relevant on some issues. So it's quite complicated. Hopefully, it'll sort out when I instruct you at the end. But that's why I'm allowing the questions and the answers but do not be confused about what anything that these people say is not necessarily accurate as to the State of Wisconsin law. Any question about that? Okay, thanks.
BINGER: So you're telling us that the reason that you wanted Dominic to buy you an AR-15 as opposed to a pistol is the only reason was because you felt you couldn't lawfully possess a pistol?
BINGER: You didn't pick up the AR-15 for any other reason?
RITTENHOUSE: I thought it looked cool but no.
BINGER: You didn't pick it up because you wanted to go hunting with it did you?
BINGER: You didn't pick it up because you were going to use it to protect your house, correct?
BINGER: You picked it up because it looked cool?
RITTENHOUSE: I thought it looked cool. That's the reason yes.
BINGER: It resembled the types of weapons that are used in first person shooter video games, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I don't really play first person shooter video games. I have but I believe there's a variety of guns including shotguns pistols -- there's guns and video games that resemble all guns.
BINGER: Isn't it true when you would hang out with Dominic Black, you'd play "Call of Duty" and other first person shooter video games?
BINGER: And those are games in which you use weapons like AR-15 to pretty much shoot anybody who comes at you, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: It's a video game where two players are playing together. I don't really understand the meaning of your question to be honest.
BINGER: Isn't one of the things people do in these video games try and kill everyone else with your guns?
RITTENHOUSE: Yeah, the video game. It's just a video game. It's not real life.
BINGER: Now you introduced yourself as living in Walworth County right now is that right?
BINGER: On the date that this all happened you was an Illinois resident?
BINGER: You had grown up in Illinois?
BINGER: You had not spent any significant time living here in Wisconsin correct?
BINGER: You'd agree with me that's correct.
RITTENHOUSE: No I -- I've spent time in my father's house and partially lived here also. So now is that correct?
BINGER: You indicated you had attended was at Penn Foster High School?
BINGER: That's an online high school.
BINGER: So you were not attending high school in person?
BINGER: And at the time that all of the things in this case were happening from the time the AR-15 was purchased to the night of August 25th you were 17 years old that entire time, correct?
BINGER: Can we have exhibit number seven up please. I have put exhibit number seven up on the screen. Do you recognize that?
RITTENHOUSE: Yes. That's my old TikTok account.
BINGER: That was a TikTok account that you had during the summer of 2020, correct?
BINGER: And it says your name on there Kyle?
BINGER: Your username on TikTok was "For doors more horse"?
BINGER: And that's a picture of you there with your AR-15, correct?
BINGER: And underneath that you have put on your profile the phrase "Bruh" B-R-U-H, I'm just trying try -- be famous. Is that correct?
BINGER: You're the one who wrote that?
BINGER: You testified that at some point, you were involved in some sort of EMT cadet program.
RITTENHOUSE: I was a firefighter EMT cadet at Illinois Fire Department.
BINGER: When was that?
RITTENHOUSE: I was a -- I was a cadet at the ANTIOCH Fire Department, I believe from 2018 or 2019, up until the incident of August 25th.
BINGER: EMT Cadet is someone who's just beginning the process of eventually achieving full EMT certification. Is that correct?
BINGER: Were you studying to be an EMT before August 25th, 2020?
RITTENHOUSE: I was learning about certain things in the field firefighting and EMS.
BINGER: But that's not actually formal classes, is it?
RITTENHOUSE: No, we met once a week and we would either depending on the day, we would either do EMT stuff like learning how to do airways. Or we do firefighter stuff like doing hose drags and learning how to crawl through buildings.
BINGER: And these are things that you did with which fire department?
RITTENHOUSE: ANTIOCH Fire Department.
BINGER: You weren't a member of the fire department were you?
RITTENHOUSE: I was.
BINGER: You were an actual on duty member on the roster of the ANTIOCH Fire Department?
RITTENHOUSE: No, no.
BINGER: When you say you're a member, what do you mean?
RITTENHOUSE: I was a member of the ANTIOCH Fire Cadet Program, we were issued shirts, and Fire Cadet Member, we would help with the pancake breakfast at the VFWs that we would wear ANTIOCH Fire Department staff shirts, I still have one of my closet.
BINGER: Maybe I didn't express myself; clearly you are not a member of the Antioch Fire Department, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I was a member of the cadet program, which was through the fire department.
BINGER: So you'd go out and fight fires?
RITTENHOUSE: We can go on ride along but we can't go into burning buildings for liability reasons.
BINGER: You'd go out there and you'd save people from burning buildings?
RITTENHOUSE: Not me personally.
BINGER: Because as a cadet, they would never let you anywhere near that, right?
RITTENHOUSE: They wouldn't let any of the cadets go into an actual live fire.
BINGER: At the end of whatever this program is, you aren't actually going to be an official firefighter were you?
RITTENHOUSE: No, it's to help prepare you for the Firefighter Academy, Firefighter EMT Academy.
BINGER: And you aren't going to be an EMT at the end of this program, either were you?
BINGER: You know that to be an EMT, you have to be 18 and a high school graduate, correct? RITTENHOUSE: Depending on the state and Illinois, you can take a class at the college at 16. And you can have your EMT license by the age of 17. I wasn't in that class, but in Illinois, you can.
BINGER: You never did any of that?
RITTENHOUSE: No, I was online school.
BINGER: The night of August 25th you were here in Kenosha, Wisconsin saying you're an EMT, correct?
BINGER: That was a lie.
BINGER: You were also telling people you were 18 or 19 years old. That was a lie, too, right?
RITTENHOUSE: No, I didn't tell anybody my age that night.
BINGER: You never volunteered at all did you?
RITTENHOUSE: I didn't.
BINGER: Because you knew as a 17 year old, you shouldn't have been there, right?
RITTENHOUSE: No, I just didn't find it relevant to give my name. Well, I gave my name but my age to anybody just not -- it wasn't something that came up in conversation.
BINGER: It's because you felt if people found out how old you were they'd realize you shouldn't have been there right?
RITTENHOUSE: No, it just because it didn't come out a conversation. If somebody would have asked I would have been like, yeah I'm 17.
BINGER: So you felt that as a 17 year old it was appropriate for you to be out on the streets of Kenosha with an AR-15 at night fair?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe I had any other rights to be there as anybody else.
BINGER: Has any other adult.
RITTENHOUSE: That's anybody.
BINGER: But you weren't an adult?
BINGER: You indicated that you were working at the -- and had been working at the Y before that, right?
BINGER: That was a YMCA down in Illinois correct?
BINGER: And you had gotten furloughed there when COVID hit in March?
BINGER: And you'd only started working at the Rec Plex on August 14th, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe I got hired before that, but I was on vacation. August 14th, so I couldn't. I was on vacation. So I couldn't start until August 14th.
BINGER: Your first time working at the Rec Plex was on August 14th, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe that was my first day.
BINGER: And then you worked the week after that from August 17th to August 23rd, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe so until August 24th I worked.
BINGER: And then your final shift was on August 24th correct?
BINGER: You worked a total of 41.5 hours at the Rec Plex, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: That's the number you got.
BINGER: And you were a lifeguard?
BINGER: You are walking around their swim area with one of those red, long, lifesaving things, monitoring the pool?
RITTENHOUSE: A rescue tool? Yes.
BINGER: So that was -- at the indoor pool at the Rec Plex?
RITTENHOUSE: It was at the indoor -- it was at the -- I don't know if you're familiar with the Rec Plex? I guarded the waterpark area in the competition for.
BINGER: So they've got a water park area with a slide and a zero entry pool is that right?
BINGER: And then next to that they've got a larger almost Olympic sized pool where swim meets happen?
RITTENHOUSE: 50 meter competition pool divided in half to make it a 25.
BINGER: Okay. And you're lifeguarding both of those?
RITTENHOUSE: I would rotate. We had rotations. And me and other guards, we would do three, we had three person shifts, we would rotate out Washington, the different areas of ourselves.
BINGER: You indicated that at no time did this gun this AR-15 ever leave the State of Wisconsin is that right?
RITTENHOUSE: Other than the night after -- other than that --
BINGER: Before the shootings?
BINGER: There was a time though where you wanted to have it with you down in Illinois, isn't it wasn't there?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe there was a time when I was me and Dominic were mad at each other. Yeah.
BINGER: You were mad at Dominic?
RITTENHOUSE: Me and Dominic were mad over something.
BINGER: And you wanted to have the gun with you down there?
RITTENHOUSE: I think I said something along those lines.
BINGER: You'd agree with me that? Let me -- let me back up for a second here. You have testified to this jury that you used deadly force against Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, a man who attempted to kick you in the face and gauge -- on the night of August 25th correct?
BINGER: And you did that because you felt that your life was in danger from those four people, correct?
BINGER: And you are telling this jury that it was in your mind justified to use deadly force to protect your own life, correct?
BINGER: You agree with me that you are not allowed to use deadly force to protect back car source building, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: I wasn't using deadly force to protect the property. I used deadly force to protect myself. BINGER: Please listen to my question and answer my question, if you can. You'd agree with me that you were not allowed to use deadly force to protect that car source building, correct?
BINGER: You'd agree with me that you are not allowed to use deadly force to stop someone from smashing the windows of an unoccupied parked car, correct?
RITTENHOUSE: And I think he could use deadly force for that.
BINGER: You'd agree with me that you can't use deadly force to stop someone from letting metal dumpster on fire, correct?
BINGER: You'd agree with me that you can't use deadly force to stop someone from tipping over a -- correct?
BINGER: You agree with me that you can't use deadly force to stop someone from lighting a flatbed trailer on fire, correct?
BINGER: You'd agree with me that you can't use deadly force to stop someone who is about to start an unoccupied car on fire, correct?
BINGER: You'd agree with me that you can't use deadly force to stop someone from lighting some traffic cones in the middle of the street on fire, correct?
BINGER: So you understand that there's a difference between using deadly force to protect yourself and using it to protect the property, correct?
BINGER: And you'd agree with me that you're not allowed to use deadly force to protect property, correct?
BINGER: But yet you have previously indicated that you wished you had your AR-15 to protect someone's property correctly?
SCHROEDER: I'm going to ask you to go into the library again for a moment please. Please don't talk about the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [12:25:00]
KING: I'm John King in Washington. The judge taking an interruption during the testimony this is Derek Rittenhouse -- Kyle Rittenhouse excuse me testifying in his own defense. The prosecution is cross examining and the defense has raised an objection to the line of questioning.
Paul Callan is with us, Paul, as a prosecutor trying to get it previous comments by Mr. Rittenhouse about wishing he had his AR-15 when property was being damaged, helped me understand the legal significance, in your view what the prosecutor is trying to do here?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the law in Illinois, Wisconsin, in most states, actually is that you cannot use deadly physical force to defend property. There are some exceptions, maybe for defensive your home in certain situations but certainly not commercial or a topic out of the street in this trial.
KING: Paul forgive me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- knows you can't go into this. And he's asking the questions. I asked the court to strongly admonish him. And the next time it happens, I'll be asking for a mistrial with prejudice. He's an experienced attorney and he knows better.
SCHROEDER: Mr. Binger.
BINGER: First of all, Your Honor --
SCHROEDER: This was the subject of emotion. I'm well aware of that. And the court left the door open for me, not for you.
BINGER: My understanding of your --
SCHROEDER: -- should have come and asked for reconsideration you did on the one motion. And in fact, I granted your motion for reconsideration. That was I know, excuse me. I did -- I granted we did not that was their emotion -- we've not filed any motions to reconsider this case. Was there a motion for reconsideration which I did not?
But I said I denied it or I indicated a bias towards denial is what I did. Held it open with a bias towards denial why would you think that that made it okay for you without any advance notice to bring this matter before the jury?
You are already -- you're -- I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendants 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. And it gives -- well, I'll leave it at that. So I don't know what you're up to.
BINGER: Can I respond?
BINGER: We filed and other acts motion on this exact issue. Because in my mind, and I argue this, it is identical to what was going on, on the night of August 25th in the sense that the defendant was using this exact same weapon. He was using it in a manner to try and protect property.
SCHROEDER: Nobody wants it.
BINGER: Your Honor, with all due respect --
SCHROEDER: I'm not going to rehash the motion. That's absolutely untrue. There's no -- your arguments of record. My comments are on record and why I rolled as I did is of record, there's nothing that I heard in this trial to suggest anything's changed.
Even if you're correct in your assumption that you know, more than I did at the time, you should have come to the court and say I want to go into this. Why you would think that you could go into it without any advance notice to the court. I don't understand that.
And as the defense is pointing out, you're an experienced trial lawyer and this should not have been going into.
BINGER: Your Honor, there have been things in this case, testimony in this case that I believe opens the door to this. For example, the defense has introduced evidence that the defendant pointed a gun at a man wearing yellow pants, because that person was on a car on the car source locked now there's no justification that I can think of why the defendant would point that gun at someone?
The defendant has just testified this morning that he agreed with that person in the yellow pants that he pointed the gun at. He said I was joking when I said that to the guy in the yellow pants. But he said he's acknowledged that he told the person the pants yeah, you're right. I did point a gun at you when you were sitting on a car.
SCHROEDER: He said I did.
BINGER: Exactly. So he's agreeing. May I finish please? I'd like to have a chance to make a record if I could without being interrupted, if that's okay? He has mentioned that he has acknowledged that he's used this gun to protect property.
He's also just acknowledged that he knows he can't do that. I am attempting to impeach him now, with the prior August 10th incident 15 days prior involving the same gun where he is threatening to use that gun to protect property. It goes. Your Honor, he is saying he wished he did so he could shoot people.
SCHROEDER: You know there's a lot of difference between commenting about something when you haven't got a gun and threatening someone you when you do?
BINGER: You know it's interesting Your Honor because the entire defense theory in this case is Joseph --
(END VIDEO CLIP)