Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty on all charges

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 11:51 PM ET, Fri November 19, 2021
27 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:21 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Rittenhouse family spokesperson says verdict "was expected"

From CNN’s Raja Razek

David Hancock, Rittenhouse family spokesman
David Hancock, Rittenhouse family spokesman (WBBM)

Kyle Rittenhouse's family spokesperson told CNN affiliate WBBM that the verdict in the trial was "expected," adding that Rittenhouse and his family are in an undisclosed location. 

"I say that was expected because we know who Kyle is, and we know what was in his heart and what was in his head, and we know the facts of this case. But, of course everybody was really anxious because at the end of the day, you just, you ultimately don't know what a jury is thinking," spokesperson David Hancock said.

Hancock also said he believed that "the jury was thoughtful and they understood the gravity of this decision." 

"Now, the goal is going to be to ensure Kyle's safety as he moves on as a 18-year-old young man in college studying to be a nurse," Hancock said. "Those are his plans moving forward."

As for the Rittenhouse family, Hancock said, "They are doing well right now. they're in an undisclosed location and they are, they are a family and everybody is just ecstatic."

Asked about the call for protests following today's verdict, Hancock said, "The family calls for calm. Calls for calm. I mean, this was not an injustice."

"What I would say is, this is an inflection point, I think, for the country to look at the way things have been handled. Things have gone off the rails in relation to who Kyle is and why he was down here. It's never been about politics. It's not about race. This is about a young man who fled and felt as if his life was in danger and defended himself," he added. 

3:51 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

How lawyers for 2 of the men Rittenhouse shot are responding to the acquittal

From CNN's Sara Sidner

Kimberley Motley and Milo Schwab, attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz and the estate of Joseph Rosenbaum, asked for "peace from everyone hurting" following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse.

Rosenbaum was killed and Grosskreutz was injured in the August 2020 shooting.

"Today we grieve for the families of those slain by Kyle Rittenhouse," Motley and Schwab said in a statement.

Here's the full statement: 

"Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum did not deserve to die that night. For now, we ask for peace from everyone hurting and that the public respect the privacy of the victims and their families. That night in Kenosha, Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber, and many others acted heroically. They did not seek violence, but to end violence. What we need right now is justice, not more violence. While today's verdict may mean justice delayed, it will not mean justice denied. We are committed to uncovering the truth of that night and holding those responsible to account."

3:42 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Rittenhouse attorney says judge delivered fair trial

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Mark Richards, defense attorney
Mark Richards, defense attorney (CNN)

Mark Richards, an attorney on Kyle Rittenhouse's defense team, dismissed criticism over Judge Bruce Schroeder's courtroom style, saying he believed the judge delivered a fair trial.

"I've never seen so much made of so little," he said of criticism of Schroeder's sometimes abrasive manner.

"Judge Schroeder gives you a fair trial as a defendant," he said. "You don't want him to sentence your client. But in this case, we were looking for a fair trial and if we lost we knew what was going to happen... so I would rather have a fair trial."

During the trial, Schroeder, who has a reputation as a tough jurist, had some heated exchanges with prosecutor Thomas Binger for his line of questioning as Rittenhouse testified.

Richards said that he had confidence in his self-defense case and believed that Schroeder had created an environment where his client could receive justice.

"I thought he gave us a fair trial," he added. "...So I think it's a good system. You know, I've got a trial in front of him, you know, a big case, and maybe in that one, I'll think he's unfair, but he's a fair judge."

Rittenhouse was acquitted on all five counts against him earlier today.

2:57 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Prosecutor in Rittenhouse trial: "While we are disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected"

From CNN's Omar Jimenez

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger listens in court on November 16.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger listens in court on November 16. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News/Pool/AP)

Following the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, the lead prosecutor in this case, said in a statement that "while we are disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected."

“We are grateful to the members of the jury for their diligent and thoughtful deliberations. The Kenosha community has endured much over the past 15 months, and yet we remain resilient and strong. We ask that members of our community continue to express their opinions and feelings about this verdict in a civil and peaceful manner,” Binger continued.
3:46 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Biden reacts to Rittenhouse verdict: "The jury system works, and we have to abide by it"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

(Alex Brandon/AP)
(Alex Brandon/AP)

President Biden said he did not watch the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, but he stands by the verdict and the judicial system.

He made the comments upon returning to the White House after his routine physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“I just heard a moment ago,” Biden said, when asked about Rittenhouse being found not guilty on all counts. “I didn’t watch the trial.” 

Asked if he stood by his past comments equating Rittenhouse to a white supremacist, Biden didn’t directly answer. 

“Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded,” he said. “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it.” 

In a statement released by the White House later Friday afternoon, Biden acknowledged that the verdict “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included,” adding that everyone “must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.” 

Biden said he “ran on a promise to bring Americans together, because I believe that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.”

“I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law,” the statement reads. 

2:46 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Wisconsin governor calls for peace and says state has "work to do" following Rittenhouse verdict 

From CNN’s Carma Hassan 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial has “reopened wounds that have not yet fully healed” and called for peace in Kenosha following the teen’s acquittal. 

“No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, or heal Gaige Grosskreutz’s injuries, just as no verdict can heal the wounds or trauma experienced by Jacob Blake and his family. No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve,” Evers said in a statement. 

Evers urged Wisconsinites to move forward and said “any efforts or actions aimed at sowing division are unwelcome in our state as they will only hinder that healing.”

3:02 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Rittenhouse has a "huge sense of relief" following acquittal, says defense attorney

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Kyle Rittenhouse hugs one of his attorneys Corey Chirafisi after he is found not guilty on all counts on Friday.
Kyle Rittenhouse hugs one of his attorneys Corey Chirafisi after he is found not guilty on all counts on Friday. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News/Pool/AP)

Mark Richards, Kyle Rittenhouse's defense attorney, said his client is eager to get on with his life and is feeling a great sense of relief following his acquittal on all five counts against him today.

"He wants to get on with his life," said Richards, speaking at a news conference outside the courthouse. "He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today. He wishes none of this would have ever happened."

Richards said Rittenhouse has had 24-hour security and does not anticipate that he will continue to live in the area.

"I think eventually some anonymity will come back to it," he said, adding Rittenhouse has ambitions to become a nurse.

Richards reiterated the defense's argument that Rittenhouse was not responsible for the violence that occurred that night in Kenosha.

"As he said when he testified, he did not start this and we're thankful, in more ways than one, that the jury finally got to hear the true story," he said.

2:44 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

Rittenhouse defense attorney says it "wasn't a close call" to put him on the stand

From CNN's Elise Hammond

(CNN)
(CNN)

Mark Richards, one of the defense attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse, said it "wasn't a close call" to put him on the stand.

"Had to put on him. It wasn't a close call," Richards said in an exchange with reporters after the verdict was read on Friday.

"At certain points we wondered whether we would put him on. We had a mock jury and we did two different jurors, one with him testifying and one without him testifying and it was substantially better when he testified," he added.

"In Wisconsin if you don't put a client on the stand, you're going to lose, period," Richards said.
2:44 p.m. ET, November 19, 2021

CNN legal analyst on why the prosecution's case did not persuade the jury

From CNN's Elise Hammond

(CNN)
(CNN)

Laura Coates, CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, said she was not surprised the jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges because of the jury instructions and the execution of the prosecution's argument.

The prosecutors were trying to make a case about an active shooter, arguing that everyone else who responded to Rittenhouse's actions that night were actually the one's acting in self-defense. Coates said, in the end, it wasn't compelling.

"That proved unpersuasive it seems to this particular jury for two reasons. One, Wisconsin is a place that has a gun culture that's not synonymous with criminal activity. The idea of saying you want to alienate a gun owner would not have been persuasive enough. The idea of saying, hey, they were acting in self-defense might have been compelling, except for the jury instruction," Coates explained.

She said the jury instruction said jurors had to look at the case through the eyes of then 17-year-old Rittenhouse, not in hindsight. The jurors had to access the reasonableness of Rittenhouse's actions and decide whether it was his belief that he had to use self-defense.

"When you saw him take the stand and explain why he himself thought he was in lethal danger at that point, that probably was the one that tipped the needle," Coates said.

"He believed that it was reasonable to do so and now the burden went back to the prosecution where it always should stay to say, hey, we have proven that he was not reasonable in his belief, that he was in a kill or be killed scenario," she added.

Wisconsin law requires that when a self-defense claim is raised, prosecutors must disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, not the other way around as it is in other jurisdictions, Coates explained.

In order for the prosecution to successfully make its active shooter argument, attorneys would have had to present evidence that disproves Wisconsin's self-defense threshold, according to Coates.

"Of course, the two people who were killed might have been in a position to do so, but they couldn't testify, they were dead," she said, adding that the third person who was shot, Gaige Grosskreutz testified that Rittenhouse fired when Grosskreutz aimed his gun at him.