Republican extremist members of congress fall over themselves to offer Rittenhouse a Job on Capitol Hill
After 3 and a half days of discussion, the 12 jury members acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges. Rittenhouse faced 5 charges, including homicide, attempted homicide, and endangering safety after killing two men and injuring the third.
The men he killed were Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26 and the third wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27.
The 2-week trial attracted US’s attention, showcasing the nation’s biased justice system and deeply rooted racial injustice. The trial featured over 30 witnesses, video footage from that night’s shooting, multiple clashes between the lead attorney, Thomas Binger and Judge Bruce Shroeder, and Schroeder’s ruling that prosecutors will not call the people shot as “victims”, but can be called “looters” or “arsonists”.
While the acquittal received severe criticisms from the victim’s family, some legal experts and Wisconsin legal analysts say they were not surprised with the outcome at all.
Some key factors led to such an outcome. One such factor was the prosecutors found it difficult to prove that Rittenhouse did not shoot in self-defense. John Gross, a Law Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the Public Defender Project said, “I think the way in which self-defense is defined in the law in Wisconsin, this was going to be a difficult charge to prove,”. From observation, he and his colleagues also determined that unless and until the prosecutors show remarkable evidence that people are unaware of, it would be extremely difficult to prove the conviction. Former federal prosecutor, Ellie Hong said, “They (prosecutors) pointed out some sort of minor inconsistencies and things he said on the night of and said later, but nothing that undermines sort of the core defense argument, which was, he was attacked.” Honig also stated that he was attacked each time he shot and prosecutors failed to prove it otherwise.
Another key factor was Rittenhouse’s testimony. He said to the court that he acted in self-defense when he shot Rossenbaum, who apparently threatened him earlier, chased him, threw a garbage bag at him and sprang for his gun. Rittenhouse even broke down on the stand and also testified, “If I would have let Mr. Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would have used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people,”
He referred to the people chasing him as “mobs”, also testifying that Huber too came at him, hit him with a skateboard, and lunged for his gun. He shot him in the chest killing him after which he saw Grosskeutz jumping at him, pointing a pistol at his head and so he shot him too.
Defense attorney Mark Richards said, “We had a mock jury and we did two different juries, one with him testifying and one without him testifying. It was substantially better when he testified… and that sealed it. “If you don’t put a client on the stand, you’re going to lose, period.”
Wisconsin laws allow for the use of deadly force when the individual reasonably believes that the other party is using serious or deadly force that could cause great bodily harm or imminent death.
Another factor was the prosecution who, according to Gross’s statement, did a bit of disservice to the case. They were desperately trying to prove that Rittenhouse is an active shooter and came to Kenosha to look for people to shoot. To this, the defense came back saying that he wasn’t shooting indiscriminately, walking across the streets, which aren’t the traits of an active shooter.
The final key factor would be the jury’s instructions. CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates said that the instructions to the jury were to look through a 17-year-old’s perspective and assess the reasons for his actions. Coates said, “The jury instructions were really centered around that term ‘reasonable.’ Defining the word ‘reasonable.’ And the jury instructions required this jury to look through the lens and perspective of Kyle Rittenhouse. Not Monday morning quarterback, not the jurors, or the court of public opinion in hindsight,”. “What would he reasonably and what did he reasonably believe about the possibility of a lethal threat or harm and grave bodily harm?”
With these instructions and Rittenhouse testifying that he was acting in self-defense, it was difficult for prosecutors to show that he provoked the violence first.
Supporters of Rittenhouse see him as a patriot and believed he rightly exercised his Second Amendment right to carry a gun, prevent lawlessness and defend himself. Critics, on the other hand, saw him as a white supremacist and a vigilante. The verdict received harsh criticisms for being double standard at its best.
Republicans rejoiced and tweeted their support for Rittenhouse, claiming that he was a victim of media bias and activists. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) said on Wednesday that if the jury finds it favorable, his office might ask Rittenhouse to work on Capitol Hill. Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), tweeted on Friday that Rittenhouse would be welcomed in Arizona if he chooses a college there. After the verdict, Kamala Harris shared her views on the statement, saying that, “The verdict really speaks for itself,”. “As many of you know, I’ve spent a majority of my career working to make the criminal justice system more equitable, and clearly there’s a lot more work to do.”
Several Republican lawmakers dangled congressional internships for Kyle Rittenhouse, joining a coalition of right-wing voices celebrating the Kenosha shooter after his acquittal on Friday.