Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were killed and Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27, was injured. Rittenhouse was charged with five felony counts: first-degree murder, first-degree reckless murder, first-degree murder, and two first-degree reckless endangerment counts.
These are the factors that experts say helped Rittenhouse get acquitted.
Rittenhouse’s testimony is key
“If I had let Mr Rosenbaum take my gun, he would have used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people,” he testified.
Rittenhouse mentioned the others he shot at were part of the “crowd” that were chasing him, telling the court that Huber had come up to him, hit him with a skateboard and grabbed his gun. ta. Rittenhouse shot him in the chest, killing him. He eventually said he saw Grosskreutz lunge at him and point a pistol to his head, so Rittenhouse shot him, he testified.
Defense attorney Mark Richards told reporters Friday in his mind, ‘it’s not a close call’ whether to take Rittenhouse to the stand.
“We had a mock jury and we did two different juries, one with him testifying and one without him testifying. It’s substantially better than when he did. evidence … and that sealed it,” Richards said. “If you don’t put a customer in perspective, you’ll lose, period.”
According to legal experts, his testimony is key for a number of reasons.
“Number one, you personify him… More importantly, number two, he explains his use of force,” said CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson.
Rittenhouse’s testimony allowed jurors to hear what he thought at the time and whether he believed he was in danger – a claim the prosecution was ultimately unable to make. undermines, said former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.
“They (prosecutors) pointed out some minor inconsistencies and things he said that night and said afterwards, but nothing undermined the core defense argument, which was him. was hacked,” Honig told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Friday. “Every time he shoots, he gets hit.”
Honig added: “The prosecution has not created enough cracks in Kyle Rittenhouse.
The state did not prove that Rittenhouse incited violence
According to civil rights attorney Charles F. Coleman Jr., the outcome of the trial was two competing stories: one about Rittenhouse as a victim of assault, and one about the vigilance that incited violence.
“The jury bought the narrative that Kyle Rittenhouse was a victim, thinking that his claim for self-defence was far stronger than the prosecutor’s provocative statement,” he said.
And it was an uphill battle to climb in the first place, because of the truth in this case, experts say.
Criminal defense attorney Sara Azari told CNN’s Pamela Brown: “(Prosecutors) were unable to demonstrate that his response to each of these men, to each of these threats, was zero. reasonable”.
“When the jury went back a few days ago and watched the video…frame by frame, they were looking at whether Kyle did something to provoke the threat and whether his response to the threat was. whether it makes sense to use deadly force and they agree with the defense that it is the right thing to do,” added Azari.
“The prosecution … must dismiss the right to self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt on all 12 jurors. How do you do that when you don’t see any real provocation taking place? ” Bianchi said. “There isn’t a real trial attorney… hasn’t sat here and said this was an amazingly good self-defense case.”
Prosecutors also made mistakes
Honig, a former federal prosecutor, said there were also mistakes the state made, including covering up the case by trying to paint Rittenhouse as an active shooter.
In his final arguments earlier this week, Assistant Kenosha District Attorney Thomas Binger said that Rittenhouse behaved in a way that no reasonable person could, inciting the incident, to open fire. recklessly, lied repeatedly, and as a result the mob had the right to “try and stop an active shooter.”
“Trying to brand Kyle Rittenhouse as an active shooter didn’t get up and the defense came back and showed, he’s walking through the streets, he’s not shooting indiscriminately, that’s what an active shooter does, he only shoots the people who hit him first,” Honig said.
Rittenhouse’s defense attorney also pointed to the active-shooting prosecutor’s argument during his press conference, saying, “justice is done when the truth is achieved.”
Richards added: “A prosecutor must seek the truth.
Also, trying to draw Rittenhouse as provocative because he’s carrying an AR-15 doesn’t work because of Wisconsin’s gun culture, which isn’t necessarily always equated with criminal activity, experts say. legal experts told CNN.
“You have to remember that you are in a jurisdiction where this is not unusual,” Bianchi said.
“It was an absolute amateur move by prosecutors,” Honig said.
Jury guidelines are consequential, expert says
Ultimately, the jury’s instructions also helped get Rittenhouse acquitted, said CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates.
Coates said the guidelines say jurors must see the case through the eyes of 17-year-old Rittenhouse, not hindsight, and assess the rationality of his actions.
“The jury’s instructions are really centered around that term ‘reasonable’.” Definition of the word ‘reasonable’. And the jury’s instructions require this jury to see through the lens and perspective of Kyle Rittenhouse. Not the Monday morning quarterback, not the jury, or the court of public opinion in hindsight,” Coates said. “What would he reasonably do and what would he reasonably believe? about the possibility of a threat or harm of death and serious bodily harm?”
That, combined with having to refute Rittenhouse’s self-defence claims and suggesting he incited violence during the tumultuous night, meant that “the deck turned against prosecutors,” Coates said.
“With all of that combined, it’s not surprising that the acquittal occurred,” Coates said, “but it really stemmed from the jury’s instruction on seeing through the eyes of Kyle Rittenhouse .