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Kyle Rittenhouse Murder Case Thrown Into Jeopardy By Mistrial Bid

Attorneys for Rittenhouse are asking for a mistrial with prejudice over the prosecutor's line of questioning during his time under oath.
Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 10, 2021

The murder case against Kyle Rittenhouse was thrown into jeopardy Wednesday when his lawyers asked for a mistrial over what appeared to be out-of-bounds questions asked of Rittenhouse by the chief prosecutor.

Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request but was clearly angry at the prosecution, telling Thomas Binger: “When you say that you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe that.”

The startling turn came after Rittenhouse, in a high-stakes gamble, took the stand and testified that he was under attack when he shot three men during a night of turbulent protests in Kenosha. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” the 18-year-old said.

During cross-examination, Binger asked Rittenhouse about whether it was appropriate to use deadly force to protect property. The prosecutor also posed questions about Rittenhouse’s silence after his arrest.

The jury was ushered out of the room, and the judge loudly and angrily accused Binger of pursuing an improper line of questioning and trying to introduce testimony that Schroeder earlier said he was inclined to prohibit.

Rittenhouse attorney Mark Richards suggested Binger might be attempting to provoke a mistrial. The defense asked for a mistrial with prejudice, meaning that if it is granted, Rittenhouse cannot be retried in the shootings.

During his turn on the stand, Rittenhouse told the jury that one of the men cornered him and made a grab for his rifle, another hit him with a skateboard, and the third came at him with a gun of his own.

Rittenhouse sobbed so hard at one point that the judge declared a break. But otherwise, he was composed on the stand, even as he was being cross-examined aggressively.

Rittenhouse is on trial on charges of killing two men and wounding a third during unrest that erupted in the summer of 2020 over the wounding of a Black man by a White Kenosha police officer. He could get life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges against him.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, went to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic weapon and a medic bag in what the former police youth cadet said was an attempt to protect property after rioters had set fires and ransacked businesses on previous nights.

The case against Rittenhouse has divided Americans over whether he was a patriot taking a stand against lawlessness or a vigilante. Prosecutors have portrayed him as the instigator that night, while the defense has said he feared for his life, afraid that his gun was going to be taken away and used against him.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.