Welcome back to our ongoing live coverage of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Kyle is charged with a variety of felonies, including first-degree murder, for shooting three men, two fatally, as well as for alleged reckless conduct on the night of August 25, 2020, in riot-torn Kenosha WI.
You can find our commentary and analysis of yesterday’s trial proceedings here: Rittenhouse Trial Day 1: Defense Dominates Opening Statements and First Witness Testimony.
Today begins the second day of the substantive trial, which we expect to begin by continuing the interrupted direct examination of state’s witness Korrie Washington (aka Korrie Elijah). He is self-described as a “social media influencer,” and is responsible for live streaming some of the more notable of the video footage taken around the events of August 25, 2020, at street level involving Kyle Rittenhouse and other major players in these proceedings.
That said, the most notable evidence presented in court yesterday, I suspect, was the FBI aerial infrared footage of the events at the Car Source lot in which Rittenhouse would ultimately shoot Joseph Rosenbaum. Unfortunately, this portion of yesterday’s testimony, by FBI Special Agent Brandon Cramin, was not broadcast by the court, so there’s not much I can say about Cramin’s testimony. I do, however, have a copy of the FBI video footage itself, kindly provided by Jack Posobiec (a must-follow on Twitter at @JackPosobiec), so we can certainly discuss that video.
First, I’ll note that the version of the FBI video provided to me, and presumably the version played in court, is a composite of the FBI infrared video and video from several recordings made at ground level. Frankly, I find the composite rather difficult to watch in a useful way. I’ve included a copy of that version of the video as I’m presuming it was presented in court below, but I also prepared a modified version of that video that focuses entirely on the aerial infrared portion, and that’s what I’ll focus on here.
Second, this video clearly shows Rosenbaum emerging from a position of ambush, hidden in a group of four vehicles at the corner of the Car Source lot, waiting for Rittenhouse to run by (at about 0:47 in my version of the video), and then Rosenbaum aggressively pursuing Rittenhouse across the lot until the point of contact at which Rosenbaum lunges for Rittenhouse and is ultimately shot four times by Rittenhouse. That relevant portion of the video starts at about 0:41, with Rosenbaum already among the four vehicles and Rittenhouse emerging into view on the right side of the screen, with both men identified on the video by name and white circles.
Third, the first six seconds of that portion, from 0:41 to 0:47, as Rosenbaum hides among the vehicles in ambush, and Rittenhouse runs up to and past the vehicles, after which Rosenbaum is clearly in pursuit of Rittenhouse, is presumably the evidence that ADA Binger is relying on to advance his narrative that it was Rittenhouse rather than Rosenbaum who was the initial aggressor in this confrontation.
I would note that this is hardly anything resembling proof beyond a reasonable doubt on this point, as there are obvious explanations for the movement of Rittenhouse that have nothing to do with any particular intent towards Rosenbaum. A great many people were moving along the sidewalk from right to left by that Car Source parking lot, in part attracted by the large group of people on the left edge of the lot engaged in the violent destruction of lot vehicles parked there. Indeed, there’s no evidence whatever that Rittenhouse had any particular intent towards Rosenbaum at that point, or even knew that Rosenbaum, in particular, was ahead of him.
In any case, it hardly matters. Even if Rittenhouse had been “chasing” Rosenbaum during that 6 second period, at 0:47 it is Rosenbaum who is now aggressively pursuing Rittenhouse–and we know this is not a coincidental pursuit, because of other evidence, the most obvious being that Rosenbaum does, in fact, close in and lunge at Rittenhouse.
Further, whatever Rittenhouse might be said to have been doing earlier, once Rittenhouse is in open flight he has certainly met the conditions for “regaining innocence” by withdrawing from the fight and effectively (if constructively) communicating his withdrawal from the fight. Whatever might have happened earlier, in this ultimate confrontation between the two men, it is Rosenbaum and not Rittenhouse, who is the unlawful initial aggressor.
So, here’s my version of the FBI video, focused on the aerial IR portion, and with the other distracting composite video portions cut out–again, the interesting portion for purposes of this discussion starts at about 0:41:
And for purposes of completeness, here’s the entire version of the FBI video as provided to me, with the composite video portions completed:
As usual, throughout the day we’ll be live streaming the court proceedings, as well as providing real-time commenting and analysis from the moment the court comes into session until it recesses for the day, over at Legal Insurrection. You can find both the streaming video and the real-time commenting there.
After the court has recessed for the day, we’ll also be providing a detailed but plain English legal analysis of the day’s events, their likely impact, and legal consequences, and so forth, in a separate “end-of-day” blog post/video/podcast.
With that said, make yourselves comfortable, and let’s get ready to rumble in State of Wisconsin v. Kyle Rittenhouse!
You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.
Know the law so you’re hard to convict.
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
Nothing in this content constitutes legal advice. Nothing in this content establishes an attorney-client relationship, nor confidentiality. If you are in immediate need of legal advice, retain a licensed, competent attorney in the relevant jurisdiction.