A key prosecution witness in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse on Thursday indicated that a man Rittenhouse shot was aggressive and reaching for the then-17-year-old when the shooting took place.
Testimony from a prosecution witness that painted Rittenhouse as responding to aggressions rather than being the aggressor was characterized by the website Legal Insurrection as an “absolute train wreck” for the prosecution’s case against Rittenhouse. “This is NOT how it’s supposed to be done,” author Andrew Branca noted.
Richard McGinniss — who was recording video on a cell phone for The Daily Caller on the night of the shootings with which Rittenhouse is charged — indicated Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man Rittenhouse shot, tried to grab the rifle the teen was holding.
Rittenhouse had gone to Kenosha in response to rioting that took place in the Wisconsin community.
“So your interpretation of what [Rosenbaum] was trying to do … is complete guesswork,” prosecutor Thomas Binger said at one point when questioning McGinniss, according to a video posted on Twitter.
“Well, he said ‘f*** you’ and then he reached for the weapon,” McGinniss testified.
In a video posted on Legal Insurrection, McGinnis says that as the confrontation began, Rittenhouse was holding the gun at a 45-degree angle with the barrel pointed toward the ground.
McGinnis said that when Rosenbaum “lunged” for the gun, Rittenhouse “dodged around,” adding “that’s when it was leveled at Mr. Rosenbaum and fired.”
McGinnis continued to use the word lunge to characterize Rosenbaum’s effort to grab the gun.
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Binger and McGinniss sparred over words, with the prosecutor wanting the witness to characterize Rosenbaum as falling when he was shot.
“He was lunging, falling. I would use those as synonymous terms in this situation because basically, you know, he threw his momentum towards the weapon,” McGinniss said.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is charged with reckless and intentional homicides in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and with attempted homicide for wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.
McGinniss said during his testimony that Rosenbaum was “grabbing for the front portion of it,” referring to the rifle Rittenhouse held.
Binger asked if Rosenbaum’s momentum after he missed and his grab at the gun meant he was no longer a threat.
McGinnis said the two men were “extremely close” and he was uncertain “what would have happened if those shots hadn’t been fired,” according to Reuters.
“I think it was very clear to me that he was reaching specifically for the weapon,” McGinniss added, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Ryan Balch, a veteran who was patrolling the streets of Kenosha that night, said Rosenbaum was “hyperaggressive and acting out in a violent manner,” including throwing rocks and trying to start fires.
Balch said that earlier on the night of the shootings, Rosenbaum had been involved in an altercation and said, “If I catch any of you guys alone tonight I’m going to f***ing kill you!”
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