Opening statements for the upcoming murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Nov. 2 in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. The case has landed in a cultural fissure and became a cause célèbre among the political right. You can watch in the player above.
Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. Prosecutors say that Rittenhouse, then 17 and from Illinois, was a vigilante looking for a fight. He, like other right-wingers, went to Kenosha, Wisconsin ostensibly to protect property. This happened as protests over police shooting local man Jacob Blake turned violent. Rittenhouse’s attorneys assert he was acting in self-defense.
Prosecutors have struggled in court, failing to introduce evidence of prior aggressive behavior. This included evidence showing him attacking a woman who was in an altercation with his sister. The other is that he was closely linked to the violent, far-right Proud Boys organization.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder said an appellate court would reverse him if he allowed these in trial. The evidence was too prejudicial, he said. He also ended up not wanting to allow footage showing someone identified as Rittenhouse discussing a Black man exiting a CVS pharmacy. Rittenhouse believed the man was shoplifting.
“Bro, I wish I had my fucking AR,” Rittenhouse said. “I’d start shooting rounds at them.” Schroeder pointed out that Rittenhouse called 911, however.
“The [incidents] are too dissimilar,” the judge said. “He makes some threatening statements for sure. Statements. Then he takes a proper action. ‘Threatening’ is probably the wrong word.”
Note: Updated to reflect that jurors were chosen and opening statements were set for Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Booking photo via Antioch Police Department]
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