By Associated Press
Rittenhouse’s decision to testify carried risks, including the possibility of fierce cross-examination. And some legal experts expressed doubt about the need to put him on the stand, given that some of the prosecution’s own witnesses have already bolstered his claim of self-defense.
Much of the testimony Wednesday was centered on the shooting of Rosenbaum, since that set in motion that bloodshed that followed.
Rittenhouse said that earlier that night, Rosenbaum was holding a chain and twice threatened his life. Apologizing to the court for his language, Rittenhouse quoted Rosenbaum as saying: “I’m going to cut your (expletive) hearts out!”
Later that night, Rittenhouse said, he was walking toward a car dealer’s lot with a fire extinguisher to put out a blaze when he heard somebody scream, “Burn in hell!” He said he responded by saying, “Friendly, friendly, friendly!”
He said Rosenbaum was running at him from one side and another protester with a gun was in front of him, and he was cornered. He said he began to run, and he heard a protester tell Rosenbaum, “Get him and kill him!”
Rittenhouse said he heard a gunshot directly behind him, and as he turned around, Rosenbaum was coming at him with his arms out in front. “I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun,” Rittenhouse said.
That was when he fired, he said.
He also said he thought the object Rosenbaum threw during the chase — a plastic hospital bag — was the chain he had seen earlier.
Asked by his lawyer why he didn’t keep running away from Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse said: “There was no space for me to continue to run to.”
During cross-examination, Binger asked Rittenhouse about whether it was appropriate to use deadly force to protect property, and also posed questions about the defendant’s silence after his arrest.
At that, the jury was ushered out of the room, and Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder loudly and angrily accused Binger of pursuing an improper line of questioning and trying to introduce testimony that the judge earlier said he was inclined to prohibit — video made some 15 days before the shootings, in which Rittenhouse watches men leave a CVS Pharmacy and is heard commenting that he wished he had his rifle so he could shoot them because he thought they were shoplifters..
Rittenhouse lawyer Corey Chirafisi all but suggested prosecutors were deliberately trying to cause a mistrial because the case is “going badly” for them and they want a do-over. The defense asked for a mistrial with prejudice, meaning that if one is granted, Rittenhouse cannot be retried.
When Binger said he had been acting in good faith, the judge replied: “I don’t believe that.”
As he first took the stand, Rittenhouse was asked by his attorney whether he came to Kenosha looking for trouble, and he responded no.
He testified that he saw videos of violence in downtown Kenosha on the day before the shootings, including a brick being thrown at a police officer’s head and cars burning in a Car Source dealership lot.
Rittenhouse said the Car Source owner “was happy we were there” that night.