Kyle Rittenhouse testifies in his own defense

By Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:20 PM ET, Wed November 10, 2021
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4:16 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says Joseph Rosenbaum never physically touched him

From CNN’s Tiffany Anthony

(Pool)
(Pool)

As Kyle Rittenhouse’s testimony resumed after a lunch break, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked about his encounter with Joseph Rosenbaum.

Rittenhouse testified earlier that Rosenbaum threatened him twice. 

This was the exchange:

"Did he swing the chain at you when he made the second threat?,” Binger asked.
"He did not," Rittenhouse replied. 
"Did he physically touch you when he made the second threat?"
"No, he didn't,” Rittenhouse answered.
"In fact, that entire evening he never once touched your body, did he?,” Binger asked. 
"He grabbed my gun when he attacked me,” Rittenhouse said.
"And that is why I asked the question the way I did. He never touched your body that night correct?,” Binger asked. 
“He didn't touch me physically,” Rittenhouse said. 

Binger also asked Rittenhouse if Rosenbaum had any type of weapon other than the chain Rittenhouse believed he had and whether Rosenbaum charged at him or was physically aggressive toward him. 

Rittenhouse said he did not. 

 

3:58 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Legal experts weigh in on Rittenhouse's testimony

From CNN's Areva Martin, Laura Coates, Joey Jackson and Jeffrey Toobin

Is Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony on the stand so far helping or hurting his case? Legal experts weighed in on CNN during a break in the trial this afternoon. Here's what they said.

CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin

"It was a risky move by the defense team to put him on the stand... but I think in this case, given how the evidence has been presented by the prosecution, that it is working for the defense."

"They presented a very different picture of a Kyle Rittenhouse than what we had seen in the media reports. This is a Kyle Rittenhouse that went there to do good, to take graffiti off of a school, to render aid, to help save a business. This was a very ... humanized Kyle Rittenhouse, and that's what the defense wanted to do ... I think so far Kyle's testimony probably went over pretty well." 

CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates

"If I was the defense, I would have put him on the stand... There was a lot of sympathetic media towards him, people who thought about him as essentially as bit of a martyr from this inflection point on racial tension in America."

However, if "I'm the prosecution, I need him to take the stand for the reasons that came through on the cross-examination. Remember, when he was asked questions by his own attorney you saw the waterworks coming out. He was crying... he was overcome with emotion."

CNN analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson

The defense has "done excellent ... the reality is I say they did well."

"He explained himself with respect to why force was necessary ... He said, 'there was a gun pointed at me, I was in fear for my life.'"

"The reality is that the jurors will render a verdict based upon all types of evidence, but with regard to a defendant testifying, I think this couldn't have gone much better than it did, and the cross couldn't touch him with respect to the prosecutor cross-examining him to try to otherwise discredit him. Didn't do a good job."

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin

"The good news for Kyle Rittenhouse is that he's not on trial for being an idiot. He's on trial for homicide."

"This is a tough case for the prosecution because it does seem like he has a plausible case of self-defense and ... if it were illegal to be an idiot, the jails would be even more crowded than they are now. Homicide is a different matter ... he may have a defense here."

3:50 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says he would have used a handgun for protection if he could have legally possessed it

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

(Pool)
(Pool)

The prosecution zeroed in on Kyle Rittenhouse’s AR-15 type rifle during cross-examination Wednesday. 

“Everybody that you shot at that night, you intended to kill, correct?,” Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked him.
“I didn’t intend to kill them, I intended to stop the people who were attacking me,” Rittenhouse replied.
“By killing them,” Binger asked.
“I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me,” Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse told Binger that he thought he could possess a rifle, but not purchase it at the age of 17 in Wisconsin.

“I cannot legally possess or carry a pistol because I'm not 18 in Wisconsin. I believe it's 18 in Wisconsin for a pistol, but with the rifle, I knew I could possess that rifle. I knew I couldn't buy it but I knew I could like take it, to like the shooting range or possess it,” Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse also told Binger that the rifle got in the way at times when he was trying to treat people at the protests in Kenosha that night.

“This big, long AR-15 really got in the way whenever you tried to help someone, right,” Binger asked.

“Sometimes,” Rittenhouse answered, adding, “If I could have legally carried a handgun, I would have carried a handgun…instead of a rifle.”

When Binger asked Rittenhouse if he knew “the capabilities” of the weapon, Rittenhouse replied, “I knew that it could shoot, and I believe from a distance, I don't know how far I'm not an expert on AR-15s.”

3:18 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse testifies that he lied during an interview that he was a certified EMT

From CNN's Mike Hayes

(Pool)
(Pool)

Kyle Rittenhouse was asked during cross-examination about an interview that he gave to a video journalist the night of the shooting. The prosecution played video clips from that interview during Rittenhouse's testimony.

In one clip, the person taking the video asks Rittenhouse if he is a certified emergency medical technician. In the video, Rittenhouse replies yes.

After the clip was played, prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Rittenhouse if he lied during the interview that he was an EMT.

"I'm not an EMT," Rittenhouse replied.

Binger followed up, "You're not a certified EMT, you're not an EMT of any kind, you weren't on that night, correct?"

"Yes," Rittenhouse responded.

Here was the rest of the exchange:

Binger: "So you lied to him, correct?"
Rittenhouse: "I told him I was an EMT, but I wasn't."
Binger: "And you knew you were being interviewed by someone in the media when you told that lie, didn't you? 
Rittenhouse: "Yes."

 

3:12 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says he brought a gun to the protests "to protect myself" if he was attacked

Prosecutor Thomas Binger questioned Kyle Rittenhouse about why he felt it necessary to bring a weapon to the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.

"I needed the gun because if I had to protect myself because somebody attacked me," Rittenhouse testified Wednesday afternoon in his own defense.

When asked by Binger why he thought anyone would attack him at the protests, Rittenhouse said, "I don't know."

"I brought the gun to protect myself," Rittenhouse said.

Here's more from the exchange between Binger and Rittenhouse:

Binger: "I don't understand. You said you're going to bring the gun to protect yourself, so you thought you were going to be in danger, right?"
Rittenhouse: "I didn't think I would be put into a situation to where I would have to defend myself."

2:27 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse defense makes a motion for mistrial

From CNN's Mike Hayes

(Pool)
(Pool)

Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said in court this afternoon that the defense is making a motion for a mistrial with prejudice.

Chirafasi said the prosecutor, ADA Joseph Binger, committed "what amounts to prosecutorial overreach."

Earlier in the day, Judge Bruce Schroeder asked the jury to leave the courtroom twice during cross-examination and then sharply admonished Binger for his line of questioning.

The first incident related to Binger’s questions about Rittenhouse’s post-arrest silence, a right solidified in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence,” Schroeder said. “You’re right on the borderline, and you may be over, but it better stop.”

The second admonishment related to questions about an incident two weeks before the shootings that Schroeder has said would not be permitted to come into evidence. 

Chirafasi said this afternoon that the judge "warned" Binger that testifying about "certain things" was "off limits."

"I think the court has to make some findings as it relates to the bad faith on the part of the prosecution, and if the court makes a finding that the actions that I had talked about were done in bad faith," Chirafasi said.

The defense attorney asked the court to grant the motion with prejudice.

The judge said he would take the motion under advisement. "There better not be another incident," he said.

2:17 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Court resumes in Kyle Rittenhouse trial

From CNN's Eric Levenson, Brad Parks and Carma Hassan

The court has resumed in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial after taking a lunch break.

Rittenhouse testified before the break that he was scared for his life and acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in what is likely to be the pivotal testimony of his homicide trial.

"I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself," he testified.

In the moments before the shooting, another man, Joshua Ziminski, told Rosenbaum to "get him and kill him," Rittenhouse testified. Rosenbaum started to chase the teenager in a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him, but Rittenhouse said he believed at the time that the thrown object was a chain.

The 18-year-old's stunning testimony came a day after the prosecution rested its case on Tuesday after calling 22 witnesses over six days. The prosecution's case was highlighted by testimony from an armed paramedic who was shot by Rittenhouse and a journalist who said the gunfire put him in danger.

4:01 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse judge admonished the prosecutor twice during cross-examination. Here's why.

From CNN’S Eric Levenson 

(Pool)
(Pool)

Twice during cross-examination, Judge Bruce Schroeder asked the jury to leave the courtroom and then sharply admonished Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger for his line of questioning.

The first incident related to Binger’s questions about Rittenhouse’s post-arrest silence, a right solidified in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence,” Schroeder said. “You’re right on the borderline, and you may be over, but it better stop.”

The second admonishment related to questions about an incident two weeks before the shootings that Schroeder has said would not be permitted to come into evidence. 

“Your honor, Mr. Binger is either forgetting court's rulings or attempting to provoke a mistrial in this a matter,” defense attorney Mark Richards told the judge. “He knows he can’t go into this and he’s asking the questions. I ask the court to strongly admonish him and the next time it happens, I will be asking for a mistrial with prejudice. He’s an experienced attorney and he knows better.”

Binger said he believed that incident was newly relevant to the case, but Schroeder criticized him for not asking permission first and affirmed the evidence would not be allowed.

“I apologize, your honor. You're right, I probably should have brought this to your attention earlier. I may have misunderstood your ruling because I thought your ruling was if the evidence in this case made that more relevant, you would admit it or at least considered it's admittance,” Binger said.

Binger said he thought the circumstances would be different because the judge had said he hadn’t heard anything in the trial to change his rulings prior to Rittenhouse’s testimony. 

“Don’t get brazen with me,” Schroeder told Binger. “You know very well that an attorney can’t go into these types of areas when the judge has already ruled without asking outside the presence of the jury to do so, so don’t give me that.”

1:03 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

The court is in a lunch break

The court is taking a break for lunch until 2 p.m. ET.

The prosecution has been cross-examining Kyle Rittenhouse about how the night of the shooting unfolded.

Before the prosecution began, Rittenhouse testified that he was scared for his life and acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in what is likely to be the pivotal testimony of his homicide trial.

"I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself," he testified.