Judge, prosecutor clash during Kyle Rittenhouse trial; defense rests

Kyle Rittenhouse faces several charges for shooting three protesters -- killing two -- in Kenosha, Wis., in 2020. File Photo courtesy of the Kenosha County, Wis., Sheriff's Department

Nov. 11 (UPI) — The judge and lead prosecutor in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial clashed Thursday after an assistant district attorney questioned whether the judge was treating both sides of the case equally.

The heated exchange came as the defense rested its case Thursday afternoon.

Kenosha County, Wis., Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger took issue with how Judge Bruce Schroeder harangued him for trying to introduce evidence the judge deemed inadmissible Wednesday. Binger said Schroeder should likewise rule against the defense’s attempt to introduce a video on use-of-force that included evidence the judge previously ruled was inadmissible.

“I have to say, your honor, yesterday I was the target of your ire for disregarding your orders,” Binger said. “Today, the defense is disregarding your order.

“I think it’s a fundamental fairness issue, your honor, if I’m being held to obey the court’s orders, I’m asking that the defense be held to that too.”

Schroeder cut Binger off at one point and said, “you know, I don’t want to talk about” it.

The exchange took place with the jury outside of the courtroom. When they returned, the defense’s video, which was part of the testimony by use-of-force expert John Black, was shown.

Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial for the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber on Aug. 25, 2020, during protests related to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Black said that after reviewing videos from the night of the shooting, he estimated that the four shots that hit Rosenbaum were fired in less than three quarters of a second.

The defense also called Kenosha police officer Brittni Bray, who gathered the shells from the assault-style rifle that Rittenhouse used during the shootings, and Frank Andrew Hernandez, who was described as a professional commentator.

Hernandez, who provided video of the protests, testified that Rosenbaum was combative prior to being shot by Rittenhouse. He repeatedly referred to the protests as “violent riots” and the protesters as “antifa,” a catchall designation used to describe anti-fascist liberal activists.

Binger accused Hernandez of bias, at which point Schroeder ordered a lunch break.

After the break, Hernandez told the court he observed Rittenhouse try to de-escalate tensions multiple times during the protests.

On Wednesday, Rittenhouse took the stand to give testimony and appeared to break down when asked to recall his actions on the night of the shootings.

Schroeder on Wednesday openly considered a mistrial in response to the prosecutor’s line of questions to Rittenhouse. The prosecutor asked Rittenhouse about his remaining silent after he was arrested and another incident that the judge had previously said would not be permitted as evidence.

Schroeder told jurors that closing arguments will take place Monday, with each side having about 2.5 hours.

Rittenhouse faces several charges in the deaths of Rosenbaum and Huber, including first-degree reckless homicide and use of a dangerous weapon.


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