KENOSHA, Wis. (Reuters) – The following were some of the key moments in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin that may have factored into the jury’s decision to acquit him on all charges on Friday.
Rittenhouse, 18, was charged in the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.
1) Rittenhouse testifies in his own defense
In dramatic and risky testimony, Rittenhouse took the stand and portrayed himself as wanting to help others by providing medical aid and extinguishing fires. He said he used his gun only after being attacked and ambushed.
Rittenhouse broke down sobbing as he recalled the events immediately before he shot Rosenbaum, prompting the judge to call for a recess. After returning to the stand, Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum charged at him, telling the jury, “I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun.”
Rittenhouse told the prosecution during cross examination: “I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me.” He admitted using deadly force but said he did not intend to kill anyone.
2) The only survivor testifies
Grosskreutz, the only protester shot by Rittenhouse to survive, testified that he had pointed his Glock pistol in Rittenhouse’s direction and only advanced on the teenager as a last resort because he thought he “was going to die.”
Under cross-examination by the defense, Grosskreutz said Rittenhouse did not fire when his hands were up and only did so when he moved toward Rittenhouse with his pistol pointed at him.
The photos of the injuries to his arm were so gruesome that some jurors adverted their eyes.
3) Eyewitness testifies about Rosenbaum’s death
Richie McGinniss – chief video director of the Daily Caller, a conservative website – was perhaps the closest eyewitness to any of the shootings.
While the prosecution called him as a witness, his testimony helped the defense argue that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. McGinniss testified that Rosenbaum tried to grab the barrel of Rittenhouse’s rifle before the teenager fired.
McGinnis was both a witness and victim in the case. Prosecutors say Rittenhouse endangered McGinniss when he shot Rosenbaum. McGinnis testified that he had to check to make sure he was not shot.
4) Judge and prosecutor spar
Throughout the two weeks of testimony, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder and the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, have clashed.
Their exchanges got especially heated when Binger crossed examined Rittenhouse.
Schroeder twice asked the jury to leave the courtroom and then sharply admonished Binger for his line of questioning.
“When you say you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe you,” the judge said to Binger. At one point, he barked at Binger: “Don’t get brazen with me!”
5) FBI drone video
On the night of the shooting, the FBI had a drone conducting surveillance about 8,500 feet (2,600 meters) overhead. The grainy, infrared video was shown at the trial as evidence of what happened in the moments leading up to Rittenhouse shooting Rosenbaum.
Aerial surveillance by law enforcement has happened during other protests but critics say it infringes on civil rights and privacy.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool)