Rittenhouse Bond Hearing Set For Next Week; Teen Fires Attorney

A Wisconsin jury spent two weeks listening to dozens of witnesses and poring over countless pieces of visual evidence during Kyle Rittenhouse's homicide trial. But a number of details that have drawn attention — and sometimes outrage — on social media or in the news over the past year never made it into the courtroom.

Rittenhouse, now 18, was found not guilty on Friday of fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, as well as injuring Gaige Grosskreutz, amid civil unrest in Kenosha in August 2020. Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, and testified that he shot the men in self-defense after they attacked him.

Jurors in the Rittenhouse trial deliberated for over three days before acquitting him of all five felony charges he faced. Had they convicted him, Rittenhouse could have received a life sentence.

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Judges in criminal trials tightly control what juries do and don't hear, barring any information they deem irrelevant, unfair, confusing, misleading, or hearsay. To help boost their cases, prosecutors and defense attorneys often spend a great deal of time and effort arguing why certain details should be included or excluded at trial.

Here are six pieces of information about Rittenhouse and the Kenosha shootings that made headlines, but were not deemed appropriate for the jury to consider once they deliberated Rittenhouse's fate following closing arguments Monday.

Unflattering videos of Rittenhouse

Prosecutors wanted to present two videos taken of Rittenhouse in the weeks leading up to the shooting, arguing that they provided "crucial insight" into the teenager's state of mind in summer 2020. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder disagreed in both instances.

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One of the videos, which circulated widely on social media, showed Rittenhouse punching a girl from behind. Another video, filmed across the street from a CVS Pharmacy, showed hooded people rushing out of the store clutching items. Rittenhouse's voice could be heard saying, "Bro, I wish I had my fucking AR. I'd start shooting rounds at them."

Prosecutors argued at the time that the CVS video showed Rittenhouse "fervently sought to insert himself as an armed vigilante into situations that had nothing to do with him." But Schroeder said Rittenhouse's actions in the videos couldn't reasonably be compared to the situation he faced in Kenosha on August 25, 2020.

The criminal records of Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz

All three men shot by Rittenhouse had criminal records, though the jury remained unaware of most of them throughout the trial.

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In September, Schroeder denied a motion from Rittenhouse's defense attorneys to bring up Rosenbaum's criminal history at trial. The defense had wanted to argue that Rosenbaum was trying to steal Rittenhouse's gun, since Rosenbaum's status as a felon prevented him from buying one legally. (Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings and had a friend purchase an AR-15 for him, had been charged with one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18; Schroeder dismissed that charge on Monday.)

6 details the Kyle Rittenhouse jury didn't consider when it deliberated the teenager's fate
Mark Richards, the lead attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, left, and Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger talk before video of the night of Aug. 25, 2020 is shown during the trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 3, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.Sean Krajacic/Pool via Getty Images

Rosenbaum spent roughly 15 years in prison in his early adulthood, according to Arizona prison records. Court documents showed that Rosenbaum was accused of sexually abusing five pre-teen boys in 2002, was indicted on 11 counts of child molestation, and eventually pleaded guilty to two amended counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger argued that some of Rittenhouse's supporters online had appeared thankful that Rittenhouse fatally shot a convicted sex offender.

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"We don't want the jury to decide this was justified because he got a pedophile off the streets," Binger said.

Huber pleaded guilty in 2013 to two felony counts of strangulation and suffocation, and false imprisonment, court records showed. According to a criminal complaint, Rittenhouse's defense attorneys cited without the jury present, Huber had pulled a knife on his brother and grandmother, and choked his brother amid an argument about housecleaning. Kenosha County jail records show that Huber spent a little over four months behind bars and was released on probation.

Grosskreutz confirmed on the witness stand that he had previously been convicted of a crime, but did not tell the jury what it was. Wisconsin court records show he pleaded guilty in 2016 to one misdemeanor count of being armed while intoxicated.

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Photos showing Rittenhouse at a pub with Proud Boys members

Prosecutors also wanted to show photos of Rittenhouse posing with members of the Proud Boys in a Wisconsin pub shortly after he had been released on bond. In the photos, Rittenhouse could be seen wearing a shirt that said "Free as Fuck" and flashing an "OK" hand gesture, which prosecutors noted was commonly used to signify "white power."

Defense attorneys responded that Rittenhouse hadn't known the men, or known what the OK hand signal meant. They also noted that prosecutors had scoured Rittenhouse's entire social media history and cellphone records, but found no evidence of links to extremist or white supremacist groups.

Schroeder sided with the defense, and said Rittenhouse's interactions with the men at the pub had nothing to do with his actions on the night of the Kenosha shootings.

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Details about Huber's personality and history

Though Grosskreutz was able to tell the jury he ran after Rittenhouse that night because he believed the teenager was an active shooter, Huber's exact motivations for chasing the teenager and hitting him with a skateboard remain unknown.

Prosecutors sought to answer that question by calling Huber's great aunt, Susan Hughes, to the witness stand to tell the jury about occasions where Huber had acted heroically. But Rittenhouse's attorneys objected when Hughes said she'd seen her grand-nephew run towards danger.

The defense said if prosecutors portrayed Huber as "peaceful," then they would introduce evidence of his previous criminal conduct. At one point, Rittenhouse's attorney, Corey Chirafisi, read from a criminal complaint alleging that Huber had once held a six-inch butcher knife to his brother's throat, ear, and stomach.

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6 details the Kyle Rittenhouse jury didn't consider when it deliberated the teenager's fate
Gaige Grosskreutz, holding a handgun in his right hand, can be seen clashing with Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020.Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"Mr. Huber told his brother that if he didn't start cleaning a room in the house, he was going to gut him like a pig," Chirafisi said, reading from the complaint. "Mr. Huber told his brother that if he stopped cleaning, he would kill him."

Though Schroeder didn't ban Hughes' testimony about Huber's supposed heroics, he said defense attorneys would be able to bring up Huber's criminal history if prosecutors pursued their line of questioning. Prosecutors opted to cut Hughes' testimony short instead.

Rosenbaum's psychiatric care in the days before the shooting

The jury heard only select details about Rosenbaum's mental state before the shootings. Rosenbaum had been released from the hospital just hours before the Kenosha shootings, where he had been under psychiatric care following a suicide attempt.

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Rittenhouse's attorneys sought to portray Rosenbaum as unstable and violent in the hours and minutes leading up to the shootings. A number of witnesses — both for the prosecution and the defense — testified that they had seen Rosenbaum acting "belligerently" or "erratically." At various points, the witnesses said, Rosenbaum verbally threatened Rittenhouse and others, confronted people, set fires, shouted the N-word, and wielded a chain.

Though the defense was permitted to question Rosenbaum's fiancée, Kariann Swart, about the medications he had been taking for bipolar disorder, Schroeder did not allow them to ask Swart in front of the jury about why Rosenbaum had been hospitalized in the first place.

Expert testimony about whether Rittenhouse reasonably feared for his life

Rittenhouse's defense attorneys called upon a use-of-force expert to testify about his analysis of the shootings. Though John Black showed the jury slowed-down videos of each incident and emphasized how quickly the chaos escalated that night, he was unable to testify about his opinions regarding the threats he believed Rittenhouse may have faced.

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Prosecutors and Rittenhouse's attorney struck a deal where Black would limit his testimony mainly to the timeline of the events, rather than the reasonableness of Rittenhouse's actions. For their part, prosecutors agreed not to call a different use-of-force expert to support their arguments.

At a pre-trial hearing, Black had offered a moment-by-moment breakdown of Rittenhouse's, Rosenbaum's, Huber's, and Grosskreutz's actions. He described why he believed Rittenhouse had reason to fear that the men could either assault him or take his gun and use it against him.

"A citizen in that position, given those indicators — would it be reasonable to believe they were about to be assaulted? I would argue yes," Black said, referring to Rittenhouse's reaction to Grosskreutz, who approached the teenager while wielding a handgun. "That is one of many reasonable perceptions in that situation."

Source : https://www.businessinsider.in/international/news/6-details-the-kyle-rittenhouse-jury-wont-consider-when-they-deliberate-the-teenagers-fate/articleshow/87726299.cms

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