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The Situation Room
Closing Arguments Of Defense In The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; Defense Wraps Closing Argument In Rittenhouse Trial. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 15, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He's lying because he's a right wing journalist. All six of them are lying. And then I forgot. Detective Howard, he's lying, too because he could see through the videos. He could see that Rosenbaum came out from hiding behind the car after my client passed the Duramax.
Rush to judgment? As I said earlier, you bet. Highly charged atmosphere here in Kenosha. Make no mistake. You live here. You know. They had to do something. They had to charge the white supremacist who isn't a white supremacist. They never reassessed their case. They've never looked at it.
They've never said, oh, Dr. Kelly, let's talk about this wound on the hand. That means he was touching the barrel or his hand was over the barrel when it was fired? Well, that means he was pretty close. No, we're not going to reassess. We're going to march forward. We're going to throw it into the hands of 12 people from the city and let them do our work.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a political case. We can take politics out of it as in Democrat and Republican, but the District Attorney's Office is marching forward with this case because they need somebody to be responsible. They need somebody to put and say we did it. He's the person who brought terror to Kenosha.
Kyle Rittenhouse is not that individual. The rioters, the demonstrators who turned into rioters, those are the individuals who bring us forth. And I ask you to remember and I'll show you the videos for the last time for me. The anger in the mob that was going on that night, they were not going to be dissuaded from doing things.
They were pushing, firing dumpsters, destroying property and that was -- so you're saying Mr. Rittenhouse put out a fire. Yes, it was a small fire. Last time I checked, small fires turn into big fires. So, kind of stupid. James Armstrong, hocus-pocus, out of focus, I've talked about him.
He spent 20 hours reworking a frame in a video and averaging -- having my client somehow miraculously go from a right-handed shooter to a left-handed shooter. The mirror on the truck is the arm. Their whole case relies on that one photograph that he spent 20 hours. That's how they're going to prove provocation. A word you never heard in the opening statement. It was my client who chased him down and shot him in the back. Oops,
can't prove that. This is the day before Car Source burning, Car Source 1 burning to the ground. What's in the foreground? Trailer, which will be the subject of pictures later on.
There's Kyle earlier in the day on the 25th setting up his alibi, setting up his I'm a good person story because he thinks he's going to go out and kill three people that night. Ladies and gentlemen, that is garbage. How would he know he's going to be photographed? And what does that do? It just shows he's interested in his community, trying to do good.
Picture, Mr. Khindiri, Car Source three. State doesn't want Kyle to go to Car Source 3. According to the state, he has to stay at Car Source 2, 59th and Sheridan, yet Nick Smith called and asked him to go there because whoever was going to protect that property had left.
UNKNOWN: Objection, your honor. The record does not indicate that Nick Smith made that phone call.
BRUCE SCHROEDER, JUDGE, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WISCONSIN: It's argument the -- folks, you heard the evidence and use your collective recollections to determine what the truth of it is and discount anything that is not supported in the evidence.
RICHARDS: Testimony was he received a phone call saying they were destroying cars at Car Source 3 and he went down there. First, Kyle asked for a fire extinguisher. Asked the other individual to go down there with him. He said -- didn't give an answer and Kyle took off going down there to try and help protect that property.
This is that night. Tear gas, fires. Here is Mr. Rosenbaum pushing one of many dumpsters. Dumpster fires. Right there. That's one. Another one. That's Mr. Rosenbaum pushing it in into the gas station with Drew Hernandez exactly where police vehicles riding down here. They were trying to push it to them.
UNKNOWN: I can't hear anything.
RICHARDS: I apologize.
UNKNOWN: It's okay.
RICHARDS: They're trying to push the dumpster down to the line of police (inaudible) of the gas station. It's put out and the reaction from Mr. Rosenbaum of dumpster number two.
You hear the voice? Why you do that? There's Mr. Rosenbaum arguing. Mr. Ziminski, the smiling puppeteer standing behind him. Yes, they didn't know each other. Maybe they didn't, but they sure spent a lot of time together that night.
Mr. Ziminski with the yellow circle, holding his firearm. Yellow pants, Kelly Ziminski with a flashlight in her hand. Last time I checked there wasn't any lighting problems. The flashlight is a weapon to bash heads if you have to.
Many people with Ar-15s. Not one person with an AR-15. That's the difference between this, the Ultimate gas station (inaudible) and what happened down at Car Source 3. Kyle Rittenhouse was alone. He had been taken away from the herd and Mr. Rosenbaum and Mr. Ziminski were going to get him.
Movement. Mr. Rosenbaum and his bag. He's not dissuaded by the people. He's going right at them. He's not afraid of them. He's pushing in and going at them. He's not afraid of a gun. Yelling. Shoot me, "N" word, shoot me, "N" word, Mr. Ziminski pulling his gun down to his side. Remembering this is Black Lives Matter rally and he's there to support their cause. Yes, right.
Mr. Huber right there holding him back actually physically holding him back, but right in the middle of it. Look at the anger in his face. This here, I'll start it, but I'm going to point it out first. You saw a video earlier. This individual is starting the Duramax on fire. Right here, "Jump Kick-Man."
You see him shoot in the lighter fluid or inflammable liquid. You see "Jump Kick-Man" getting right involved. This is the calm Tuesday evening that Mr. Binger is alluding to. Mr. Rosenbaum, this time wearing a blue mask, tipping over the port-a-potty. It was just a little port-a-potty. The trailer, the trailer is important because it's the way he arms himself with the chain. There's Rosenbaum pushing it.
If he's just a regular demonstrator or misunderstood, a little bit upset, what does he need a chain for? What does he need a bag? Why didn't he leave it with Ms. Swart? Here, three things. Blue circle, his bag, backed up by the fire. Look at that bag. Does that look like there's nothing in it? Look at this. What is that? That's not a water bottle, ladies and gentlemen. I can't tell you what it is, but it's not a water bottle.
Look at this. Two feet of chain on each side. He's got it. Taken I'm sure from right here, the tow chain (inaudible). Right there with the mask, white jeans, black. Look at the boots. Those boots would soon be impacting my client's face.
Run down live (ph). Here once again, Rosenbaum, Ziminski at the trailer after it's been taken down the street. Set up on its side and started on fire. You can still see one of the chains hanging from the tongue of the trailer. Run down live.
The state showed this video. I started my opening statement with it. I was going to show you where Mr. Rosenbaum is. I've already done it. Don't need to waste your time. I'm going to get to the end. Here's the picture that we showed at the beginning, right there, the 1:25:26. Mr. Rosenbaum masked with his chain during the run down live video.
Mr. Rosenbaum with the chain. We said earlier, look how Kyle is dressed. Look at the pack on his left side, left hip. The crosses going across the front and the back of his chest. Nowhere in the magic picture is that depicted. 11:40, he's crossed over that line asking people if they want medical.
Runs into yellow pants. He walks away from confrontation. And yellow pants said -- you pointed your gun at me and goes like this, lower ready (ph). The individuals who were there with him slingshot, rocks in the hand, gun. Mr. McGinnis.
Kyle, after having the brief thing with yellow pants, he goes away from them. Goes over. Looks for Mr. Balch. They might have been close to one another, but they did not find one another. He tries to go back. Wants to get back to Car Source 2.
After that, he goes back and waits. He gets the phone call. He testified about the phone call. Either from Nick or Dominick. And what does he do? He gets a fire extinguisher. Hasn't had a fire extinguisher all night but he gets a fire extinguisher. The circumstantial evidence shows that call came through. He testified the call came through.
You know if it wasn't in his phone, the state would have brought it up, but now they're playing games once again. This is Drew Hernandez's video. It starts in color and goes -- excuse me, starts in black and white and goes to color. You have "Jump Kick-Man," the Ziminski's. You'll hear Kelly Ziminski talking.
And during the first part of the trial we saw this trailer go by, and it cut off the view from this location. And I'll stop it a few times and -- did you hear that? Talking about a pepper ball exploding in her ass. That's Kelly Ziminski speaking.
It's blurry. Keep your eye here and here (inaudible). That's Kyle right there to the right of the garbage can by that splursh (ph) of light. Mr. Rosenbaum, as soon as Kyle is coming, gets up and starts walking away (inaudible) Kelly Ziminski, this individual, "Jump Kick- Man" was there earlier.
There. That's Kyle with the fire extinguisher walking. Doesn't say anything to any of them. They see him coming. They head down to do their ambush. He's not chasing them. He's not running after them. He's walking down to put out the fire.
Let's start it over again. You hear Kyle yell friendly, friendly, friendly. That is the start of Mr. Rosenbaum chasing Kyle. Now they come in. He's thrown. It goes to the small -- he's thrown the bag.
The Duramax just got -- that Duramax got (inaudible).
RIHARDS: Stop. The Duramax, the shine on the Duramax. Kyle comes right into this area before he's chased. It's shown on the drone video. It's shown on the FBI video. Ziminskis are standing right here. And that's when the chase is on. You can hear the destruction of the vehicles as he approaches.
RICHARDS: Gun, gun, gun. And he is off and running. We've seen the videos. Here, this is meme (ph) video, parts of it. As I said, watch for the first shot. Look at all those people standing there. A wall of people destroying cars.
The state wants Kyle to run into that wall of people. Listen for the first shot and watch the lackadaisical attitude and then hear the four shots in quick succession and watch what happens.
UNKNOWN: Oh shit.
UNKNOWN: They shooting?
UNKNOWN: They're shooting. Oh my god.
RICHARDS: Think about that, ladies and gentlemen. The first shot happens. They barely begin to move. Between the first shot and Kyle's first shot, which is the second shot you hear, Kyle has turned around. Why has he turned around? Because that wall of people was there and he has nowhere else to run.
The cars, the van, all of the people destroying property, the soda machine, he turns around and Mr. Rosenbaum keeps coming. Mr. Rosenbaum keeps coming.
He lunges. Gunshots. There's Mr. Ziminski with his gun down there at his side as his wife yells, f'ing get him, f'ing get him, he just shot somebody, which they started.
UNKNOWN: He (inaudible) shot him. Get him there.
RICHARDS: Pointing the gun, once again, his right hand.
UNKNOWN: He shot him!
UNKNOWN: He (inaudible) shot him! He (inaudible) shot him! He (inaudible) shot him!
UNKNOWN: He shot him. That dude shot him.
RICHARDS: Gaige Grosskreutz's cell phone video. Does Kyle ever point the firearm at Gaige Grosskreutz when he runs up on him unarmed?
UNKNOWN: What are you doing?
UNKNOWN: Call the cops!
UNKNOWN: What are you doing?
UNKNOWN: Hey, what are you doing? You shot somebody?
RICHARDS: I'm going to get the police. He's going towards the police. He's continuing on. He's passed Gaige Grosskreutz. He hasn't shot Gaige Grosskreutz. He hasn't pointed the firearm at Gaige Grosskreutz. The medic, if he thinks someone is shot, why isn't he there?
He doesn't know Richie McGinnis is tending to him. None of the people who chased him are at Car Source 3. There is no evidence. Ziminski doesn't chase him. Ziminski doesn't want anything to do with it. His wife doesn't want anything to do with it, but the mob has now formed and is chasing him down Sheridan Road in a northerly direction.
UNKNOWN: Who is shot? Who is shot?
RICHARDS: He turns all the way around looking towards Car Source 3. He could go there. At this point he hasn't armed himself. Kyle is zero threat to anyone. This active shooter B.S. is something that Mr. Binger is trying to sell you people. Has he shot anybody since Car Source 3? No he hasn't.
He's running to try and get to the police. Mr. Binger must live in fairytale land to think that Kyle could stop, put his gun down and say, hey, everything is good. Leave me alone. I'm going to the police. Unfortunately, that's not how the real world works. This was real world.
UNKNOWN: Stop him.
RICHARDS: People yelling to stop him. Next picture, you saw it in opening statements. Mr. Rosen -- excuse me, Mr. Grosskreutz chasing down Kyle Rittenhouse. Kept his gun in the small (ph) of his back. He's arming himself right here. Look how far Kyle Rittenhouse is ahead of him. No threat. He's running two blocks, almost three because it's at the far end of 63rd. He hasn't shot his gun since.
If he's an active shooter looking to take as many people as possible, he's laying waste to everybody as he was running. Remember, he's got 30 bullets. He shot eight times. Four in scene one and four coming up. He's not indiscriminately shooting, pointing, doing anything. Here's full speed.
Pointing the gun at anyone? No. Running down the street trying to get to those lights where the BearCats are and law enforcement. He's not running off to the side to hide in the shadows. Blow to the head first, knocking his hat off.
What has Kyle Rittenhouse done? Nothing. Trying to get away from the mob. First strike from the mob. He's not an active shooter. He's gone two blocks. Hasn't shot anybody. Coming in behind with a skateboard at the ready, Anthony Huber. That will be strike number one.
Remember in opening statements when Mr. Binger said, oh, something happened to his skateboard.
[17:25:01] He took a swing at him. Kyle blocked it with his arm in the enhanced photos. What does Mr. Huber does? Runs, grabs a skateboard and runs in for more.
He's on the ground. The most vulnerable position you could be in. And what do we have? We have Anthony Huber here already picking up his skateboard. This guy with the towel wrapped around his head coming in at Kyle. Jump him, man. Guys hit him in the head. If we go forward just a little bit (inaudible).
You saw this individual over here who is now obstructed coming at Kyle, Kyle points his firearm at him. He backs up. Kyle does not shoot. "Jump Kick-Man" is leading with his foot. His foot is still on the ground. What direction is Kyle pointing right now? Watch what happens after "Jump Kick-Man" kicks him in the face.
He's turned around. He's looking in that direction. Anthony Huber coming in with the skateboard. Watch what Anthony Huber does with the skateboard. Blow to the head. Coming in, Kyle is trying to get up. Anthony Huber's hand goes onto the gun. This is the fast one. The gun is pulled away from Kyle. Anthony Huber fires.
When Anthony Huber fires, Gaige Grosskreutz flinches. Covers up. Natural uncontrollable reaction. Get back.
RICHARDS: Get his ass. Now here's the slow motion. He's been hit in the head. The cap is off. Anthony Huber winds up with the full force of his body. And back here, he swings the skateboard at Kyle. Kyle senses it coming. He turns around and looks, blocks it with his arm. Doesn't turn around and shoot Anthony Huber as he's being attacked with what is a deadly weapon.
A skateboard can cause death or great bodily harm, ladies and gentlemen. He doesn't do it. He continues to run a couple of steps before the blow to the head and this has knocked him to the ground. He immediately changes direction, goes running for the skateboard.
I want to get through this one. And, okay. Now this is slow motion. As he's on the ground, he's set up, trying to get up. The individual to Kyle's left is the one who runs in. Kyle points the firearm. He backs off. He is not shot at. He backs up.
He's now addressing the second nearest threat. Does not shoot. That individual right there in that picture is stopping. "Jump Kick-Man" launches, contact, fire, turned around. In comes Anthony Huber. Blow to the head and neck.
Now, when it started you'll see Anthony Huber pull on his gun. And you'll see the butt of the gun separate from Kyle's body going in that direction away from him.
See the gun being pulled away from him? He shot. Mr. Huber goes down. Grosskreutz flinches, freezes, stops, hands up, no pull. Mr. Grosskreutz is standing like this. And all sudden you see him kick his foot back and launch forward. He loads his bad foot going forward at Kyle with a loaded Glock handgun. Kyle sees it coming, gets within a couple of feet. He fires.
If he's got his hands up, and then once nothing to do with Kyle like everybody else just back away and you don't get shot. Mr. Grosskreutz decides he's going to take them out and his only regret stated in the Facebook post. He didn't fire first and empty his clipping again.
Sit in the arm. He shot at once. He's backing up. That's the last shot. That went through the quickness of those shots from the rock in the head to that fourth shot. He hits up. You still see this individual armed or with a two by four fence post, doesn't shoot at him. This person he doesn't perceive as a danger. His hands are up, doesn't shoot him. Now as he build around, watch this individual does.
That was the end of it. Kyle turns around. He turns that individual steps away from him. No more shots. He doesn't shoot randomly. He shots from behind him, continues on his way trying to turn himself into the police. I'm trying to get to end of it.
People are yelling to shoot him. He doesn't stop because it's not safe. He goes with his hands up to law enforcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just shot them. The guy right here just shot them. The guy right here just shot all of them down there. That guy just shot all of them down there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARDS: Continues on. Hands up, you hear the story about the pepper spray. 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. He did what he did. And he started this. There are tragical -- tragic parts of it. But Kyle Rittenhouse's behavior was protected under the law of the state of Wisconsin, the law of self- defense.
You've heard the instructions and I'll end with this, you decide on count one. If you decide that his conduct was privileged under the use of self-defense, you don't go on to the lesser included. If it was privileged under self-defense, that affects count two both of the things that happened in scene one, as I read earlier, page nine of the jury instructions.
If his conduct was privileged as to Rosenbaum it's privileged Mr. McGinnis. On to the next ones, at scene two, ladies and gentlemen there is no evidence whatsoever that he was an active shooter other than Mr. Binger calling them that. And there's no evidence that any of those other individuals who attacked him in the mob that night, we're attacking an active shooter. He wasn't shooting.
And if they want to be the heroes, and they want to beat somebody and do what they're going to do to them, they better be right. And they weren't. Kyle Rittenhouse shot Mr. Rosenbaum because he was attacking Kyle, every person who was shot was attacking Kyle, one with a skateboard, one with his hands, one with his feet, one with a gun, hands and feet can cause great bodily harm.
Sure the state's going to get up and say, well, he didn't have great bodily harm, so it doesn't matter. That's not the standard. The standard is could cause a great bodily harm. My client does not have to take a beating from the hands of this mob, or the hands of Mr. Rosenbaum. And Mr. Rosenbaum might be little, but here's a pretty muscular guy. And some 30-some-year-old guy can take a 17-year-old kid nine times until Tuesday.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's a tough choice. But the evidence only leads to one conclusion. That is that Kyle Rittenhouse conduct on August 25th was privileged based upon the actions of Mr. Rosenbaum and others. There are no winners in this case. But putting Kyle Rittenhouse down for something he was privileged to do will serve no legitimate purpose. I asked you to do this, do justice here under the law of the state of Wisconsin. Thank you very much.
JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Thank you Mr. Richards. Let's take about 10 minutes and please don't talk about the case, read or watch or listen to any account.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. We've been watching very dramatic moments closing arguments in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. The arm teenager who killed two people wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer.
They're taking a quick break right now we'll see what happens after this break if they resumed closing arguments, rebuttals, or if they take a break for the night and continue tomorrow. Sara Sidner is following all of this for us from Kenosha. Sara, update our viewers who may just be tuning in a very dramatic day. We heard from the defense. Now we've learned from the prosecution and their respective closing arguments.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And what we heard were some very strong arguments as you would expect, in this case from both the defense and the prosecution. The defense just ending there so I'll start with them, they did something for the jury to try to get them to see that Kyle Rittenhouse in their opinion was under attack and they said four things hands, feet, skateboard, gun. Those are things that can cause great bodily harm. The defense told the jury and the jury has to determine if that indeed is true and if Kyle Rittenhouse was simply defending his own life.
The prosecution for their point said, look, he and many of the others that were running after Kyle Rittenhouse after he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, were doing so because they thought they were dealing with an active shooter and were trying to stop him and they have every right to do that. And so the arguments are very different. Of course, the prosecution trying to say that Rosenbaum was the first person that was shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse that night was actually going after his gun.
The prosecution saying absolutely not that he was not lunging for his gun, in fact, the kill shot was in the back of Joseph Rosenbaum. But the prosecution saying no he was trying to put his hands on Kyle's gun that he was being aggressive. And for every single person that Kyle Rittenhouse shot, the prosecution says these people are victims, some of them heroes trying to stop someone they thought was a mass shooter. And the defense turning around and saying actually they were the aggressors. They were trying to hurt Kyle. They were not letting him go to the police and surrender. They were trying to stop him and do bodily harm to Kyle Rittenhouse, very dramatic moments.
Both by the way the defense and the Prosecuting Attorneys picked up the gun that Kyle Rittenhouse used that night, the AR style rifle and pointed it in some direction. One of them pointed it sort of low into the court and one pointed towards a wall over the heads of those sitting in the court, all trying to show what Kyle was doing. Kyle Rittenhouse was doing that day that he ended up shooting and killing two and maiming a third. But this really hinges on whether or not the defense thinks he was going out and trying to be a vigilante and create his own form of justice or whether or not Kyle Rittenhouse was actually defending himself and did whatever he did, including the killings and the meaning of another person if he did that in self- defense.
And so that is the argument they have to think about whether or not it's a first degree intentional homicide, or they now have a decision to make as to whether it is second degree, the judge allowing that in at the last moment. And also he isn't facing the number of charges that he faced initially in this case. He faced seven charges initially in the case. A couple of those were dropped one, the mandatory being out here, right mandatory, keeping people off the streets.
They said look, Kyle no longer faces, breaking the curfew, the mandatory curfew that was in place. And they said just today before the jury came in, as the judge said, look, they are dropping the charge for a 17-year-old, someone under the age of 18 possessing a firearm. Why did that happen? A lot of people are asking because the judge determined that in the law here in Wisconsin, the gun has to be a certain specific measurement and that this gun that was used by Kyle Rittenhouse was not that and so they could not charge him with possessing illegally possessing a handgun, the jury no longer having to decide those two things they will have to decide on five other charges.
We have just heard the defense and we expect to hear a rebuttal from the prosecution. This case going a bit late, we will see what happens whether or not the jury will take it up and start deliberating tonight or whether or not the judge will tell them to rest and start deliberating tomorrow after the prosecution gets their rebuttal time. Wolf?
BLITZER: Yes, we're anticipating a rebuttal from the prosecution. We'll see what the judge. You're correct, what the Judge Bruce Schroeder decides to do momentarily. Stay with us, Sara, I want to bring in two legal experts into our conversation. We're joined now by criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor Julie Rendelman and former federal prosecutor Andrew Cherkasky. Andrew, well, first of all, what did you make of the defense's closing argument?
ANDREW CHERKASKY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, we heard both sides go back and forth for hours today about their versions of how they think the case played out or what happened that night. But I think the most important thing was to focus in on the idea that the burden of proof here is beyond a reasonable doubt. And so while the prosecution may have made very valiant efforts here, or they may have made points that they think point to guilt, they really had to overcome all reasonable doubt that, that there wasn't self-defense at play here.
And I think that the defense counsel in their closing argument, did a very fine job of going point by point, moment by moment, highlighting how Kyle Rittenhouse may have seen the threat to be sufficiently high to justify that use of force that he that he used that day. And it's really just whether it was a doubt, a reasonable doubt, a reasonable way to potentially gone about it that will see him be acquitted of these charges if the jury sees it that same way. So I thought the defense was very effective in their argument.
BLITZER: Well, let me ask Julie, what she thought did the defense Julie do what the defense needed to do here?
JULIE RENDELMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So it's funny, you know, throughout this trial, I've been a bit judgmental in regards to the prosecution. I didn't think they gave a very strong off opening. I thought their presentation of the case was pretty flat. And I thought the prosecutor in many ways was flat. I didn't think it during his summation. I actually thought, you know, he has a gentlemanly way about him and I think he used that along with being incredibly assertive to really make his points I thought he was incredibly organized.
I thought he pulled out those parts that he needed to, to corroborate and support his position, that Kyle Rittenhouse by coming out that they're out there that day with that weapon, with that weapon that he really didn't understand how to use slowly created a scenario of recklessness and chaos that led to these deaths.
Now the defense it's true, you know, the big point is that the prosecution bears the burden. They don't just bear the burden of proving his guilt. They bear the burden of disproving self-defense. And I think the defense while they did a good job, I think they were a bit disorganized. I think it's important to lay out your points in the beginning instead of waiting until the end. I wanted to hear more from them saying it's not my burden I don't have to do anything, it's the prosecution, it's the prosecution.
I didn't feel like I heard it enough I wanted them to be a little more organized for me to have a better sense that this jury is going to say, yes, I'm going with the defense versus the prosecution. BLITZER: And you heard Sara, the defense attorneys -- the defense attorney in this particular case, really going after the prosecutor's case, didn't we?
SIDNER: Absolutely, very strongly saying that the prosecutor basically wanted Kyle Rittenhouse's head on his wall as a trophy, as an example. He very much attacks the prosecutor in this particular case, even naming him as he was attacking him, which isn't all that unusual. But it was pretty constant throughout his closing argument. Let's listen to a little bit of what the prosecution did have to say, because as you just heard, the prosecution was more salient today than I think throughout the entire trial, pulling all of the elements together and creating a narrative that they hadn't done before. It was all piecemeal.
Today, they really pulled that all together and tried to make a point to the jury that he was out here with his AR. He was not here just to be a medic, he lied about many different things, including saying he was an EMT to the media out here. And here's some of what he said to the jury to try to convince them to convict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS BINGER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: In this entire sequence of events, from the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday, August 23rd, 2020, all the way after that. Everything this community went through, the only person who shot and killed anyone was the defendant. We cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create. This is someone who has no remorse. No regard for life. Only cares about himself. After killing Anthony Huber, after severely wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, the defendant walks away. Like the hero -- like he's some sort of hero in a western without a care in the world for anything he's just done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Andrew, what do you think of that closing argument statement by Thomas Binger, the Assistant District Attorney?
CHERKASKY: It was a very myopic view of the case and the facts that came out here I thought that his commentary on how Kyle Rittenhouse had walked away and what he must have been thinking how he was acting, sure might be how that prosecutor saw it happen and go down. But I think there's a very strong case to be made that this is a young man who is walking away from a very stressful situation after feeling very much intimidated and very much threatened.
So I thought that while the prosecutor was making a fair point that some people might see, and they might see it that way. He was doing little to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. And that's the ultimate point here is had he not fired that gun. Can he assure Kyle said he would have been safe that he would have walked away without having been seriously injured himself or killed himself by what the defense described as the mob.
So it really goes back to you can see this case any number of ways. But you really can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. That's at least how I see it. And I think the defense has seen it throughout this case.
BLITZER: Beyond a reasonable doubt keywords that the jury will have to consider. And Julie, the prosecutor also argued you lose your right to self-defense. And I'm quoting now, when you are the one creating the danger, when you're the one provoking other people that did the prosecutor effectively portray Rittenhouse as the instigator, the instigator in all of this.
RENDELMAN: So the whole idea of using provocation in the jury instruction was a huge loss, at least what the defense's perspective was. They did not want that in, because that created a little bit of a hiccup for the defense, the defense attorneys when it came to that pure criminal defense -- that pure, you know, rule in regards to the fact that it was on the prosecution to disprove self-defense.
And so here's the problem with that is even with that, I still don't think that the prosecution was able to get over that hump in establishing that even if there was -- even if there was -- sorry, even if there was provocation, there was no question that -- there was still a danger by Mr. Rosenbaum, and that danger was, as far as I'm concerned, something that could have potentially caused his death by grabbing that weapon.
BLITZER: You know, Andrew, the judge in this particular case, Judge Schroeder, he decided that the jury could consider lesser charges that would decide not necessarily lesser charges, it could consider some lesser charges against Rittenhouse. But he dropped a weapons charge specifically the original charge possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. What impact could these last minute changes have with the jury as far as the outcome of the trial is concerned?
CHERKASKY: Well, I think that the under 18 charges one that if it stuck could have been a problem for Kyle Rittenhouse. Now, the judge ultimately determined that the law has some nuance in it regarding the type of firearm he was carrying versus the type of firearms that the law seems to be protecting against minors carrying or minors possessing. So he found that to be essentially an improper charge to move forward. And some may call that a legal technicality, because at the end of the day, Kyle Rittenhouse was under the age of 18, carrying a firearm and that seems to be what the law was trying to protect against.
So I think he's very lucky in that regard. And I think that that might have been the only charge that he was seriously looking at a strong likelihood of conviction on. So I think the judge did a favor there for Kyle Rittenhouse. Not from the perspective of trying to show favor towards him. But that Kyle Rittenhouse ultimately may come out favorably as a result of that ruling.
BLITZER: Well, what do you think Julie, did the changing charges and the removal of that one charge that we saw today primarily benefit the defense in this particular case? And is it unusual at that moment, just before closing arguments to go ahead and remove one specific charge? RENDELMAN: Well, I think it's a bit unusual that neither the defense nor the prosecution seem to know that the gun wasn't the right length. One would have guessed that they would have had an opportunity to measure the gun. And so it seems unusual after all this time with all this publicity, that isn't something they would have made sure they did. And one of the things that I think it doesn't just hurt the prosecution, because now they don't have a charge. It also hurts the prosecution because now the jury is looking at it going, now there's two charges that the judges decided that the prosecution hasn't made out.
What is wrong with their case that they already have two charges before they're even going into delivery that we're not going to be considering. And so it can raise some questions of credibility with regards to you know, the prosecution in the case.
BLITZER: Yes, it's sort of confusing to the jury I would suspect, Andrew, don't you think?
CHERKASKY: The jury is instructed not to pay any mind to it. And so it's something that could be a distraction. And I've certainly sat in the back room strategizing about what a jury would think about a charge going away and what it could do. There's all sorts of ways to speculate about that. But you've really got to trust in the jury system that they're going to follow the instructions of the judge. And I do think at the end of the day, it does show potentially some weakness on the part of the prosecution, that their charges seem to be disappearing.
BLITZER: All right, hold on, hold on. I want to go back to the trial. The judge is back in his seat.
They're waiting for the -- it looks like the rebuttal is about to begin, the prosecution is going to have a chance to try to rebut what the defense attorney just laid out and more than an hour, hour and a half, almost two hours, respectively. Very, very long closing arguments on both sides, the defense and the prosecution. And now there can be a rebuttal from the defense which we presumably will be hearing. I'm not sure we're going to hear it now or we'll wait until tomorrow to hear it. But we'll find out fairly soon from the judge.
Let me bring in as we await and I may have to interrupt you, Julie, but talk a little bit about the procedure now the rebuttals that we're presumably either going to hear now or tomorrow.
RENDELMAN: Yes, so look, you know, in York, where I always practice, we didn't get the chance as prosecutors to come back up and give a rebuttal. So this is an incredible chance for the prosecutor to really hit hard on every single aspect that the defense brought. And so --
BLITZER: All right, hold on, hold on Julie. Let's listen there.
JAMES KRAUS, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It's simply cannot be reasonable for someone to be holding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with powerful ammunition and be chased by someone who is unarmed, who's smaller than him who's shorter than him. And the first thing that you do to defend yourself, is you plug four rounds into it. You shoot it from about four feet away and not from four feet from Mr. Rittenhouse four feet from the end of that gun. Your first shot immobilizes him. It shatters his hip.
Then he's caused to go forward. And if you watch the videos and we're going to watch a couple during this brief rebuttal, he crumples. He immediately crumples to the ground. No one is saying that Mr. Rosenbaum should have chased Mr. Rittenhouse. No one is saying that Mr. Rittenhouse did not have a right to defend himself. This case is about the right to use deadly force. And I want to talk about that standard because attorney Richards perhaps on accident misstated it.
He said that the standard is that it could cause death or great bodily harm to Mr. Rittenhouse or that it is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to Mr. Rittenhouse. That is absolutely not what the standard is. And that is not what this trial is about. The standard is the defendant may intentionally use force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm, such as fire an AR-15 only if the defendant reasonably believed that the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.
Not, oh, if you repeatedly smash someone's face, it might lead to injury. Not, oh, this could have happened, imminent death or great bodily harm. There's an old phrase that I can kill you with my bare hands. And there's literally no evidence that Mr. Rosenbaum was capable of that. Mr. Rittenhouse has size on him. We heard he's a swimmer. We heard he's a lifeguard, he's apparently in some kind of shape. Punch him in the face, kick him in the testicles, knee him in the face, hit him with their gun. You don't just immediately get to shoot someone.
And I don't care about provocation or any of that, put that aside. It is not reasonable for any adult for any person for any 17-year-old male to not try and defend yourself first using other methods. But you factor in provocation the fact he had no right to retreat or no ability to or he had to retreat and that he had to exhaust all methods.
Clearly if there's provocation, he's guilty. But even outside of provocation, why do you get to immediately just start shooting. As Mr. Binger said he brought a gun to a fistfight. He used too cowardly to use his own fist to fight his way out. He has to start shooting and let's just say theoretically, that we think that the 12 of you think that it is reasonable to have used force, deadly force in that situation. Shoots once, takes out his hip. What is Mr. Rittenhouse have to do to avoid that, oh, maybe take one step back. And Mr. Rosenbaum is no threat.
And Mr. Rittenhouse is responsible for every round of that gun. It did not have to happen as fast as Mr. Rittenhouse made it happen. He could have held back at one shot he could hold back at two shots. The guy in the blue hoodie who came into attempt to kick him didn't get four shots. Mr. Rosenbaum didn't get four shots. And Mr. Grosskreutz did not get four shots. The defendant has the ability to gauge what he is doing and to stop shooting. Mr. Richards talks about the threat being immobilized what threat to someone six inches shorter than you that you've already shot in the hip and is already falling to the ground have.
Why do you have to keep tracking him and shooting him at any over the kill shot in the back. Hit him, kick him, knee him, anything else and Mr. Rosenbaum and Mr. Rittenhouse are alive because the defense talks about games that the prosecution is playing. Let's talk about games. Let's talk about Mr. Rittenhouse on that night did not talk to Dominic Black, not tell JoAnn Fiedler, did not tell anyone about this grabbing of the gun. Didn't tell anyone about, oh, I was afraid there you can use the gun against me.