Kyle Rittenhouse takes the stand, breaks down as he describes Rosenbaum running at him (Update: Judge lays into prosecutor)

We’ll get to Rittenhouse’s testimony in a moment but before that, Jacob Marshall took the stand to testify about his meeting in the hospital with his “best friend” and former roommate Gaige Grosskreutz. Marshall visited Grosskreutz in the hospital the day after he was shot in the arm. While there he took a photo of the two of them together and posted it to his Facebook account. The caption he added to that photo read: “can’t stop my boy.” Then there were some comments along with that photo in which Marshall wrote this:

…so the kid shot gaige as he drew his weapon and gaige retreated with his gun in hand. I just talked to Gaige Grosskreutz too his only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating the pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him. Coward

Here’s the image shown at trial:

When confronted with this today, Marshall admitted to posting the photo but claimed the part about Grosskruetz wanting to kill Kyle Rittenhouse was something he made up that Grosskreutz himself never said. “He never said that to me,” Marshall claimed. “I made a bad remark. I was trying to stick up for my friend at the time who, he didn’t know any of this was going on. He didn’t see the post or anything,” Marshall said. “A hundred percent made it all up,” he added.

After Marshall left the stand, the defense called the son of the owner of Car Source, a car dealership that was torched in Kenosha during the riots. The defense attorney got him to admit that the total loss he suffered was about $400,000 and not, as he had claimed in an interview after the fire, $2.5 million.

Immediate after that, Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand. The judge clarified that he wasn’t required to testify and asked if he was certain he wanted to. He agreed and his lawyer said the decision was consistent with the “advice of counsel.” In other words, this wasn’t Rittenhouse flying solo it was part of his defense strategy.

The initial part of his testimony involved what he did the day before the shooting and the day of the shooting. He spent the night of the shooting near Car Source location #2 (as it’s being called in the trial) where he spent the early part of the night putting out nearby fires set by rioters. He testified there wasn’t any direct confrontation with the protesters early on that night with the exception of Joseph Rosenbaum who threatened to kill him twice. The first time happened as Rittenhouse and another man were walking along the street asking people if they needed any medical help. “He screamed—sorry for my language—he screamed ‘If I catch any of you f***ers alone, I’m going to f***king kill you.”

The second threat was directed more generally at the people guarding the Car Source. Rittenhouse testified he screamed, “I’m going to cut your f***ing hearts out—I’m not going to repeat the second word but—kill you n-words.” That’s very similar to what JoAnn Fiedler testified Rosenbaum had shouted that night.

Rittenhouse later tried to walk back to Car Source but police weren’t letting anyone cross the street. He got a call saying cars were being set on fire and he went to see if he could put the fires out. At this point, Rittenhouse became emotional as he described encountering a man, Joshua Ziminsky, who had a pistol. Rittenhouse says he dropped the fire extinguisher and wanted to get away.

“Once I take that step back I look over my shoulder and Mr. Rosenbaum—Mr. Rosenbaum was now running from my right side and I was cornered from in front of me with Mr. Ziminsky and there were—there were three people right there,” he said before breaking into sobs. The judge stopped his testimony and called for a break. Here’s that moment.

After a recess, Rittenhouse resumed testifying. He said Mr. Ziminsky told Rosenbaum to “get him and kill him, that’s what I heard.” He described Rosenbaum chasing him and then hearing a shot behind him. He turned and said Rosenbaum was close enough that his hand was on the barrel of his gun. He shot four times then circled around and saw someone was already trying to help Rosenbaum. Then he heard people shouting, “Get his ass. Get his ass. Get him. Get him.” He said he decided to run toward the police to turn himself in. As he started to run he said “a mob” was chasing him. “People were screaming and I was just trying to get to the police…” he said.

“The next thing I remember is Anthony Huber striking me in the head with a skateboard,” Rittenhouse testified. The rest of his testimony is basically that, as he ran toward the police, he stumbled and fell in the street. He then fired shots at three people. The first was the man who kicked him in the face. He testified he fired two shots but that man wasn’t hit. Then he was hit again by Huber with the skateboard and fired one shot that killed him. Finally, Grosskreutz approached with his hands up but he had a pistol in his hand. While his hands were up, Rittenhouse didn’t fire but once Grosskreutz’ hand with the gun came down so the gun was pointing at his head, Rittenhouse fired one shot, hitting Grosskreutz in the arm.

Rittenhouse testified he then got up and ran to a police cruiser with his hands up. He said he told the officer he’d just shot someone and the officer told him to get back or he’d be pepper sprayed. The officer shouted “Go home, go home, go home.” So Rittenhouse went back to Car Source and from there was driven home.

After the defense finished, the prosecutor got up and began asking questions, trying to get Rittenhouse to say that he wanted to kill everyone he shot at that night. Rittenhouse admitted to using deadly force to stop what he perceived as threats but said he didn’t intend to kill. Then the prosecutor began trying to suggest that Rittenhouse had remained silent, watched videos, read things and was now tailoring his testimony to what had been presented at trial.

At this point, the judge stopped him and asked the jury to leave the room. “This is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk the defendant’s silence and you’re right on the borderline and you may, you may be over but it better stop,” the judge said to the prosecutor. “Understood,” the prosecutor replied. “I can’t think of the case on it but this is not permitted,” the judge said before asking the jury to return.

That’s all I have time for now. I’m sure we’ll have more updates coming up later. Here’s the testimony so far. Because this is live I can’t queue it up to a particular moment so you’ll have to scroll through it.

Update: After the judge stopped the trial once to admonish the prosecutor, the prosecutor then attempted to go into an area of questioning that the judge had previously ruled he was disinclined to allow. Apparently a couple weeks before the shooting, Rittenhouse had said something about wishing he had his AR-15 so he could shoot looters. The judge ruled that was no admissible because Rittenhouse didn’t have his AR-15 and the comment wasn’t relevant to the shootings covered in the trial. So again, the judge asked the jury to leave and this time the judge is clearly very angry with the prosecutor.

As you can see, the judge comes very close to saying the prosecutor is giving the defense grounds for an appeal if Rittenhouse is convicted. This is actually just one bit of the judge’s dressing down of the prosecutor. The whole thing went on for about five minutes. The defense was just angry, pointing out that an experience prosecutor should no better than to try to slide past a judge’s ruling without asking first. At this point, I almost wonder if they’ve decided they are losing this case and need to go for broke. It really seems as if they are trying to provoke the judge. Here’s the first part of the judge’s reaction:

Update: Not sure what this means in this case but Rep. Omar has weighed in.