Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts.
As the first verdict was read, Rittenhouse, 18, started to shake as he fought back tears. But by the end he could hold them no longer and he collapsed into his chair then hugged defense attorney Corey Chirafisi.
The jury — a couple of them wearing masks — showed no emotion as the verdicts were read after four torturous days of deliberation and weeks of testimony.
Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy was in the public gallery and burst into tears as the verdicts were read, while Rittenhouse victim Joseph Rosenbaum’s fiancée and victim Anthony Huber’s girlfriend and great aunt tearfully listen as their loved ones’ killer walked free.
Two men in the public gallery did high-five each other but apart from that the ‘audience’ — as Judge Bruce Schroeder called them — remained quiet and filed out of the room.
All that was left was for Schroeder to complement the jurors for being attentive and co-operative. ‘I couldn’t have wished for a better jury,’ he said before reminding them playfully that they are eligible to be selected again in four years’ time.
He also told them that they had the right to discuss the case with the media if they wanted but told them they also had the right not to. Their names have not been released and he said any media requests to talk to them would be handled by the court and passed on to the jurors.
Now Kenosha is on edge to see whether it descends into violence again.
Protestors from both sides milled on the courtroom steps — one white man saying how proud he was of Rittenhouse and the verdict, standing feet from a black woman railing about white justice.
The verdict marks the explosive end of a trial that has been riddled with controversy and drama that has threatened to derail proceedings more than once.
Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts. The verdict came in at 12.15pm Friday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, leading to fears that the city might once again erupt in violence
Rittenhouse, 18, collapsed in tears as the jury in his double murder trial acquitted him of all charges after four torturous days of deliberation and weeks of testimony
Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy was in the public gallery and also burst into tears as the verdicts were read
Joseph Rosembaum’s fiancee, Anthony Huber’s great aunt, Anthony Huber’s girlfriend, listen as Kyle Rittenhouse is found not guilty
Activists in favor of a conviction watch as a not guilty verdict is read in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse
Hannah Gittings, girlfriend of victim Anthony Huber, walks outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, after the verdict
Sarah Hughes, great aunt of victim Anthony Huber, and Hannah Gittings, girlfriend of Huber, stand outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, after the verdict
A supporter of Kyle Rittenhouse reacts as a not guilty verdict is read front of the Kenosha County Courthouse
Protestors from both sides milled on the courtroom steps — with some saying how proud they were of Rittenhouse and the verdict, and others railing about justice
A driver holds a sign that says ‘Fear has no home here’ as people react to the verdict
Outside the court, defense lawyer Mark Richards said Rittenhouse was feeling a ‘huge sense of relief’ at the verdict.
‘He is on his way home, he wants to get on with his life,’ Richards said.
Richards revealed that the defense team had two mock trials, one with Rittenhouse giving testimony and one without and it was clear from the jury reaction that he had to go on the stand.
He also said the jury deliberations were longer than any other case he had been involved in.
Richards added that Rittenhouse is in counseling for PTSD and can’t sleep at night
Richards added that Rittenhouse is in counseling for PTSD and can’t sleep at night, but said the teen will likely be moving because the area is too dangerous for him.
The family of Rittenhouse victim Anthony Huber said in a statement, ‘Today’s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people.’
About an hour after the verdict was announced a woman collapsed from what was believed to be an epileptic seizure outside the courthouse.
Police cleared demonstrators as an ambulance rushed to the scene.
The day started quietly as Judge Schroeder went through a docket of other cases. He arrived at the court shortly after 9am, stopping outside to chat with a group of photographers — jokingly asking why there were so many people around neoclassical courthouse which dates back to 1850.
Unlike nearly every other judge anywhere in the country, Schroder makes a point of walking to his chambers through the public gallery in the eggshell-blue-painted court, decorated with oil paintings of local legal luminaries.
Walking with a slight limp, he greeted reporters, court staff and lawyers as he passed through.
The first three hours of the day’s proceedings were quiet with a growing feeling in the court that the jurors were hopelessly deadlocked and no verdict would be coming before the weekend. Schroeder stayed in his chambers for most of the time.
But around noon, the judge ordered that the outer door to his chambers should be closed — for the first time in the trial. From then it was clear that the case was about to come to a close.
A few minutes later prosecution and defense attorneys came into the room along with Rittenhouse, who had been spending time outside the courtroom in a private room on the third floor.
Schroeder announced that the jurors had finally reached their verdict and made his warning to the public gallery not to react. ‘As you can see there are several members of law enforcement present and you will be whisked out of here if there is any reaction,’ he warned.
Then the jury of seven women and five men filed in, taking their seats to the judge’s left.
Schroeder told Rittenhouse to face the jury and ‘hearken’ to what they had to say.
Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and other counts for killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz on August 25, 2020.
Demonstrators have been gathered outside the Kenosha Courthouse all week, as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers called in 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to counter the expected protests.
No day of the trial was more dramatic in the trial than the day on which Rittenhouse himself took the stand – sobbing as he recounted the night of August 25, 2020, insisting he never wanted to kill anyone but that he had to to protect his life.
Rosenbaum was grabbing for his gun, he told the court, and if he got it, he believed the older man would kill first him with it and then countless others.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (left), 36, with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on August 25, 2020. Moments later, as Rittenhouse was running down a street, he shot and killed Anthony Huber (right), 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin
Kyle Rittenhouse is seen with his AR-15 patrolling the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin on the night he killed two men and injured a third
Judge Bruce Schroeder listens as the verdicts are read by Judicial Assistant Tami Mielcarek in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger attends Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial
Rising to cross-examine the teen, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, quickly found himself the target of the judge’s ire as he questioned the fact that Rittenhouse had not told his story until now.
He suggested that the now 18-year-old had ‘tailored’ his account to fit the facts presented in court – a suggestion that saw Judge Bruce Schroeder explode in rage.
Binger he said, ‘was violating a constitutional right’ in questioning Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent. ‘You are close to the line,’ he shouted, ‘You may have crossed it.’
Moments later Binger attempted to reference evidence excluded by the judge in a pre-trial motion, stirring Judge Schroeder’s anger once more and prompting the defense to move for a mistrial on grounds of ‘prosecutorial misconduct’ and ‘over-reach.’
Addressing the court, defense co-counsel Corey Chirafisi accused Binger of trying to get the case thrown on a mistrial to avoid an acquittal and so that he could ‘get another kick of the cat.’
The judge took the defense’s motion for a mistrial with prejudice – meaning the case could not be re-tried – under consideration.
Two of the six original charges were dismissed before they ever went to the jury when Judge Schroeder tossed first a curfew violation count and then the one charge that seemed all but a slam-dunk for the prosecution: possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
The gun charge was dismissed on the grounds that the state failed to satisfy the entire statute which, in Wisconsin, requires not only that the person be under 18 but that the rifle be short-barreled – Rittenhouse’s AR-15 was not.
People react to the verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on Friday
Protestors outside the courtroom with signs that read ‘Justice For The Victims’ watch the verdict come in
Demonstrators have been gathered outside the Kenosha Courthouse all week, as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers called in 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to counter the expected protests
The chaos of the night was only underlined by testimony from the two Kenosha police officers who failed to recognize Rittenhouse’s efforts to surrender.
In a breathtaking misreading of the situation the officers not only told Rittenhouse to get back from their vehicle as he tried to approach, just moments after shooting all three men, but pepper sprayed him as he got closer and attempted to hand himself in.
Officer Pep Moretti took the stand and tried to justify the failure. He told the court, ‘It’s not uncommon for an officer to be ambushed.
‘A war-zone is how I would describe it. We were outnumbered and completely surrounded. Somebody advancing on us with a rifle…we take it as a threat.’
In video footage shown in court Rittenhouse could be seen walking down the middle of the road, occasionally adjusting his rifle – he later explained he was trying to keep it behind him so as NOT to appear a threat.
Moretti recalled that he drew his weapon. His partner Jason Kreuger got out of the vehicle and went to the trunk to get his steel plate carrier vest – capable of withstanding rounds from an AR-15.
Kreuger told the court that he watched Rittenhouse approach, ‘I was giving him verbal commands to keep away from my squad, to stay back. I had also grabbed my pepper spray and was going to use it if the individual continued to approach.
‘I’d never met him before. He had a rifle. I just do not want someone coming up to my squad car in that scene, where there’s gun shots going off, that I do not know,’
Asked if they thought Rittenhouse was surrendering both officers insisted that they did not. They said they believed that there was still an ‘active shooter’ to be apprehended elsewhere, even though they admitted hearing Rittenhouse say, ‘something about a shooting.’
Moretti claimed that he had ‘never’ encountered somebody ‘with their hands up continuing to advance [and] ignoring all instructions.’
Defense attorney Chirafisi mocked the officers’ insistence that Rittenhouse did not appear to be surrendering because he wasn’t falling to his knees or putting his hands on his heads, shouting in disbelief, ‘You weren’t given him any instructions to!’
Clearly embarrassed Kreuger admitted that he only started to ‘put it all together’ when he was saw video recorded by Daily Call Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss later that same night.
Chirafisi asked, ‘Do you tell anybody [then], ‘I’m putting these together and the guy that had his hands up that’s the guy we’re probably looking for?’
Kyle Rittenhouse broke down on the witness stand last week as recalled the moment he was ‘ambushed’ by Joseph Rosenbaum the night he shot him dead
Judge Bruce Schroeder shouted down Prosecutor Thomas Binger last week in a moment of high courtroom drama
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told the jury during closing arguments that Rittenhouse was looking for the ‘thrill’ of telling people what to do, ‘running around with an AR-15’ with ‘neither the honor nor the legal right to do so’. Binger held Rittenhouse’s AR-15 aloft as he spoke, pointing it on the corner of the court
Defense attorney Mark Richards began closing statements Monday afternoon claiming Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger ‘lied to the jury’s faces’
In his opening statements Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger had sought to paint the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse as a ‘chaos tourist’ drawn to Kenosha ‘looking for trouble’ as the city burned following the police shooting of black man, Jacob Black. He told the jury that they would show Rittenhouse to be nothing but a ‘wannabe soldier’ and fantasist who was no more a medic than a ‘quack doctor.’
Plenty people were armed that night, he said, but only Rittenhouse shot anyone dead.
Speaking ahead of the trial he described Rittenhouse as ‘hunting people’ that night – a startling image but one that failed to materialize across six days of state testimony during which the state seemed to make the case for the defense more often than it did its own.
Certainly, three of the state’s key witnesses hurt the prosecution more than they helped.
Daily Caller Chief Video Director Richie McGinniss was a named complainant whose safety Rittenhouse was charged with endangering when he shot Rosenbaum four times with McGinniss all but in the line of fire.
A key eyewitness, McGinniss testified that Rosenbaum had chased Rittenhouse down then ‘lunged for the muzzle’ of his rifle in the moment he shot.
Binger and his co-chair Assistant District Attorney James Kraus maintained that Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum as he ‘crumpled’ forward, his pelvis shattered from the first shot. The image painted was of a man who was no longer any threat – a man who had never been a threat in the first place, a ‘small dog,’ Binger said in closing, ‘Bark, bark, bark! He ain’t really ever going to do anything.’
According to the state Rittenhouse ‘tracked’ Rosenbaum with his gun, shooting as he fell, and shot three more times until he delivered the ‘kill shot’ to his back.
But McGinniss told a different tale. He told the court, ‘He was lunging, falling, I would use those as synonymous terms – he threw his momentum forward towards the weapon. His momentum was going forward and that’s the point in which he [Rittenhouse] fired.’
Military veteran Ryan Balch, a self-proclaimed vigilante and ‘boogaloo boi’ was also armed with an AR-15 that night and spent much of the evening alongside Rittenhouse.
He told the court that Rosenbaum was ‘hyper-aggressive and acting out in a violent manner,’ that evening.
He said that Rittenhouse was by his side when Rosenbaum, ‘got in his face’ ‘yelling and screaming.’
Most damning of all, he told the court that Rosenbaum had threatened to kill any of the group should he get them alone.
According to Balch, he said, ‘If I catch any of you guys alone tonight, I’m going to f****ing kill you.’ Balch testified that when Rosenbaum said this it was within earshot of Rittenhouse.
The state tried to say that threat never happened – pointing out it was the only moment of the evening not captured on video.
But Balch’s testimony did damage.
Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, was the man who should have been the state’s star witness and the sole survivor of Rittenhouse’s shootings that night
Rittenhouse is seen on the ground before shooting Grosskreutz. The prosecution presented him as a peaceable paramedic – the real deal where Rittenhouse was a wannabe, who falsely claimed to be an EMT. Grosskreutz, they insisted, was only there that evening to administer medical aid
Images of Grosskreutz’s injuries on the night of the riot were shown to the jury during the trial
Then there was Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, – the man who should have been the state’s star witness and the sole survivor of Rittenhouse’s shootings that night. The prosecution presented him as a peaceable paramedic – the real deal where Rittenhouse was a wannabe, who falsely claimed to be an EMT. Grosskreutz, they insisted, was only there that evening to administer medical aid.
The state attempted to paint him as a do-gooder who posed no threat when Rittenhouse shot him in the arm at close range shortly after shooting Anthony Huber dead.
Gaige Grosskreutz was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse on August 25, 2020 and his right bicep was almost entirely blown away. Grosskreutz, the state’s star witness, took the stand last week
But under cross examination Grosskreutz was forced to admit that he had lied to police in his original statement when he did not admit that he was armed with a Glock 27.
It was also revealed that he left this fact out of two lawsuits which he has brought, one against the city of Kenosha claiming $10million and one in Federal court.
In his closing defense attorney Mark Richards repeatedly referred to the ’10million reasons he had to lie.’
DailyMail.com revealed that the man lionized by the prosecution is a career criminal with a laundry list of violent prior offenses, including felony burglary and two charges of possessing a gun while intoxicated and with a history of lying to, and failing to co-operate with, police.
In a stunning piece of courtroom drama defense co-chair Chirafisi not only exposed Grosskreutz’s lies on the stand but converted the state’s witness into his own by forcing Grosskreutz’s admission that he was pointing his own gun at Rittenhouse and advancing on him when he was shot.
Showing images from the moment he was shot, Chirafisi pointed out, ‘You would agree that when you were three to five feet from him [Rittenhouse] with your hands up in the air, he didn’t fire did he?’
Chirafisi continued, ‘It wasn’t until you were advancing on him with your gun pointed at him that he fired?’
Grosskreutz responded, ‘Correct.’
Grosskreutz later went on national television and backtracked on his sworn testimony.
The state sought to present both him and Huber as ‘heroes’ – men who rushed into the line of danger one of them paying for it with his life.
And they sought to paint Rittenhouse as the provocateur, a kid who wanted to be famous, swaggering around ‘like a hero in a Western,’ pointing his gun at people. He inserted himself in a volatile situation, they said, armed with deadly force with fatal consequences.
But Richards told the jury this was a ‘lie’ as he addressed the jury in closing statements Monday afternoon.
‘This is not a game,’ he bellowed. ‘It’s my client’s life. We don’t play fast and loose with the facts, pretending that Mr. Rosenbaum was citizen A, number one guy,
‘He was a bad man. He was there that night causing trouble. He was a rioter. And my client had to deal with him that night alone.’
The jury sat rapt as Richards spoke, studying the images and video that he showed, their attention never wavering despite the long day
Binger has continued to clash with Judge Schroeder throughout the trial and even in pre-trial hearings
Richards accused Binger’s claim that Rittenhouse somehow ‘provoked’ Rosenbaum by pointing his gun at someone else as a desperate measure for which the prosecutor reached when the case ‘explodes in his face.’
The way Richards told it it was simple. He said, ‘Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client and going to kill him and take his gun and carry out the threats he had made [earlier that night].’
Richards said he was ‘glad’ that his client had done so.
Huber was shot, he said, because he was attacking Rittenhouse with his skateboard and grabbing for his gun.
Grosskreutz was shot because he advanced on Rittenhouse with his own gun, a Glock 27, pointed at him.
Rosenbaum was ‘hell bent on causing trouble,’ that night Richards said and that is what he did.
He said, ‘There are tragic parts of it, but Kyle Rittenhouse’s behavior was protected under the law of self-defense.
‘There was no evidence that he was an active shooter other than Mr. Binger calling him that and there is no evidence that any of the individuals were attacking an active shooter [as the state contends].
‘And if they want to be the heroes, they’d 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 and one with a gun.’
He added that Rosenbaum might have been little but, ‘he could take a 17-year-old kid nine times til Tuesday.’
Black Lives Matter protestors gathered outside the courthouse all week
Supporters of Kyle Rittenhouse stand in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse while the jury deliberates
Protesters argue outside the Kenosha County Courthouse, Tuesday in Kenosha during the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year
An armed security guard wearing riot gear was among those outside. The guard told DailyMail.com he had been hired by a TV station to provide security for journalists who had been threatened recently
While the jury was quietly tucked away deliberating Kyle Rittenhouse’s fate, decorum outside the Wisconsin courthouse dissolved into angry protests on Tuesday with the arrival of BLM activists and Second Amendment enthusiasts.
On the steps of the courthouse, protesters chanted in each other’s faces in front of Jacob Blake’s uncle. It was Blake’s death by cop that was the reason for the protest on August 20 that attracted Rittenhouse to Kenosha.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the Missouri couple who thwarted BLM protesters away from their property last year by toting their own guns, were there again to show Rittenhouse their support.
The sheriff’s department and police department issued a statement to try to quell the town’s anxiety, saying there were no plans yet for road closures, curfews or any other kind of restriction, but that safety remained the priority.
500 National Guardsmen remain on stand-by near Kenosha, ready to step in if the situation escalates.
‘The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department understand and recognize the anxiety surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
‘There are many questions being asked from our community as well as media outlets.
Our departments have worked together and made coordinated efforts over the last year to improve response capabilities to large scale events.
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Binger was set up for failure!’ Kenosha DA knew the case against Kyle Rittenhouse was a losing proposition and passed the buck to Thomas Binger whose presentation has been marked with missteps and clashes with the judge
The choice of prosecutor for Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder case could be a precise pointer as to how little confidence the County District Attorney had in securing a conviction.
Mike Graveley, the Kenosha County DA would normally have taken the case himself, but instead handed it down to prosecutor Thomas Binger, whose presentation of the case in Wisconsin has been marked with missteps and clashes with Judge Bruce Schroeder.
‘Binger was set up for failure,’ one Kenosha legal insider told DailyMail.com. ‘Graveley is the superstar and he knew this one was sure to tarnish it.’
According to conservative outlet Milwaukee Right Now, Graveley ‘pawned the case off to his unfortunate assistant district attorney, Thomas Binger, who was left to spin gold out of a pile of self-defense straw.’
Now court observers believe that even if Rittenhouse is found guilty, Binger’s performance has given him good grounds for appeal.
‘He has said things in court that have been ruled out of order, but once they have been said, you can’t unring that bell,’ Kevin Mathewson, a criminal defense investigator and former Kenosha City alderman told DailyMail.com.
‘This is how Binger has always operated. He pushes the envelope as far as he possibly can — but this time the whole world is watching him.’
Binger, 51, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School is no rookie. He has been an assistant DA in Kenosha County since 2014, and first prosecuted cases in Milwaukee County back in 1999
Binger’s presentation of the case in Wisconsin has been marked with missteps and clashes with Judge Bruce Schroeder
Mathewson, who was unsuccessfully sued over a Facebook page in which he asked for people to turn up with guns to defend property during the August 2020 Kenosha riots, has been a frequent critic of Graveley’s office.
But he says he respects the DA’s prosecuting skills. ‘He is by far the best prosecutor in the office and he should be the one prosecuting the Rittenhouse trial — the most high-profile and difficult case his office is ever likely to handle.
‘It’s not that he hides from publicity. Earlier this year he prosecuted a teenager called Martice Fuller who killed his high school sweetheart and shot at her mother.
‘That was a high-profile case, but it wasn’t a difficult case to prosecute,’ added Mathewson. ‘There was video of the shooting.
‘Just about any prosecutor could have got a conviction.’
Mathewson is not the only one who is hammering Graveley for his absence from the Rittenhouse case. Graveley himself said he would not lead the prosecution as he was investigating the case against the cop who shot Joseph Blake, leading to the unrest in Kenosha during which Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
Gravely — who was named Wisconsin’s prosecutor of the year earlier this month — decided way back in January that the officer should not be prosecuted for the shooting which left Blake paralyzed. The DA also said he has to prosecute another case which will likely start before the Rittenhouse case is over.
But those excuses are getting short shrift from some, who believe Rittenhouse either should never have been prosecuted or should have faced lesser charges.
‘It’s time to put DA Mike Graveley’s picture on a milk carton,’ wrote Milwaukee Right Now.
Graveley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Binger has at times seemed out of his depth as Judge Schroeder and Rittenhouse’s defense team tear into him for a series of missteps.
Former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Daniel Adams described Binger’s case as ‘incredibly underwhelming.’
‘He’s got nothing,’ Adams told the Associated Press. ‘I just don’t understand it. What are we doing here? We’re all kind of scratching our heads.’
Binger, 51, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School is no rookie. He has been an assistant DA in Kenosha County since 2014, and first prosecuted cases in Milwaukee County back in 1999.
On his LinkedIn page the father-of-three says: ‘I was a criminal prosecutor handling misdemeanor and felony cases, including illegal firearms cases. I also handled child welfare cases, specializing in termination of parental rights cases.’
Mike Graveley, the Kenosha County DA, would normally have taken the case himself, but instead handed it down to prosecutor Thomas Binger. ‘It’s time to put DA Mike Graveley’s picture on a milk carton,’ wrote Milwaukee Right Now
After six years prosecuting, he went into private practice as director of litigation for a business law firm before joining the Kenosha County DA’s office.
He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the post of District Attorney in neighboring Racine County in 2016, saying: ‘In the last two years as a prosecutor, I have won 13 jury trials. I have convicted murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, drunk drivers, home-invading burglars and men who abuse women.’
One of the most notable cases he has previously prosecuted was of a former New Jersey fire captain who was jailed for five years in 2017 for possessing child pornography and exploiting a child for sexual purposes.
Binger insisted the sentence was not enough, telling Essex News Daily, ‘The state recommended 16 years.’
He was also forced to withdraw a case against Guy Smith, a trucker who was found with a gun in his cab. Smith’s defense attorney pointed out the law specifically allowed handguns in vehicles without a concealed carry permit, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The Smith case was also heard by Judge Schroeder.
But those cases had nothing like the media spotlight that has shone on the Rittenhouse case.
Binger’s role has been controversial since the start. He took the unusual step of objecting to the attempt by California attorney John Pierce to represent Rittenhouse, saying in a six-page motion to the court that Pierce’s presence could ‘materially prejudice’ the case.
He said Pierce’s ‘personal financial difficulties raise significant ethical concerns,’ adding: ‘Given his own substantial personal debts, his involvement with an unregulated and opaque ‘slush fund’ provides ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud
‘Money that should be held in trust for the defendant may instead be used to repay Attorney Pierce’s numerous creditors.’
Pierce, who claimed the case against Rittenhouse was a ‘political prosecution’ eventually withdrew, leaving the defense in the hands of lawyer Mark Richards.
Binger has continued to clash with Judge Schroeder throughout the trial and even in pre-trial hearings
Binger clashed with Schroeder in pre-trial hearings. Last month the judge ruled against him saying that the men shot by Rittenhouse could not be called ‘victims’ during the trial but allowed a defense motion which allows them to be called rioters, looters or arsonists.
Binger said those words were more loaded than ‘victims.’
The prosecutor also lost the chance to link Rittenhouse to the right-wing Proud Boys movement.
And Schroeder later slammed him after he argued that defense lawyers should not be able to tell jurors about the destructive actions of Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the men Rittenhouse admits killing, including setting a dumpster on fire.
‘All we’re talking about is arson. We’re talking about being loud and disorderly,’ Binger said.
Schroeder immediately cut him off. ‘I can’t believe some of what you’re saying,’ he said in a raised voice. ‘All we’re talking about is arson? Come on!’
During this month’s trial, Schroeder reprimanded Binger for bringing up a video in which Rittenhouse had talked about wanting to shoot shoplifters. Schroeder had previously ruled that inadmissible
‘You’re an experienced trial attorney and you’re telling me when the judge says, ‘I’m excluding this’ you decide to bring it in because you think you’ve found a way around it,’ Schroeder asked.
Binger replied: ‘You can yell at me if you want. I was acting in good faith.’
Judge Schroeder responded: ‘I don’t believe you. When you say you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe you. There better not be another incident.’
Rittenhouse’s defense accused Binger of knowingly attempting to throw the proceeding because they were going badly for the state.
The defense on November 10 demanded a mistrial with prejudice, which would mean that Rittenhouse walks free and a retrial is not possible. Schroeder said he is taking that request under advisement.