Directed Verdict and Big Problems for the Prosecution in the Rittenhouse Case

Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

We reported earlier about the bombshell testimony at the Rittenhouse trial from Gaige Grosskreutz — the third man shot by Kyle Rittenhouse. He admitted Rittenhouse didn’t fire until he advanced on him and pointed his gun at him. In other words, a perfect example of self-defense in that interaction.

Here’s the take showing the position at the time Rittenhouse fired with the Grosskreutz’s gun pointed right at him.

It was a perfect television moment, the kind you usually only see on law and order shows, not so much at real trials.

Many may have wondered about the comment about a “directed verdict” mentioned in that first video.

The defense can move, after the prosecution has presented its case, for what’s called a “directed verdict.” That means that even given the most favorable reading of the evidence as presented by the prosecution, no reasonable jury could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge could grant that motion in whole or in part as to the charges. Rittenhouse was charged with a count of first-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon (for the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum); first-degree intentional homicide, use of a weapon (for the shooting of Anthony Huber); two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a weapon (for allegedly endangering two others while shooting, reporter Richie McGinniss and the man who kicked Rittenhouse in the head); one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide (in the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz) and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. So, for example, the judge could find that the evidence would not support the more serious charges made in this case — ending the case as to those charges — and continuing the trial on the lesser charge as to possession of a weapon.

Given the holes in the prosecution’s case, that’s certainly a possibility, as the case seems to have collapsed and the prosecution seems to have failed on every level to provide evidence supporting the more serious charges.

In addition to the big admission by Grosskreutz yesterday, he made multiple other damaging statements.

Grosskreutz told the police that he had dropped his weapon at one point, when obviously that wasn’t the case, at least when he got to Rittenhouse, as the defense pointed out. He also admitted his conceal carry license had expired for his gun.

Grosskreutz claimed that he hadn’t chased Rittenhouse. The defense showed a picture of him grabbing his handgun while running toward Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz continued to insist he wasn’t chasing Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz provided more ammo for the self-defense argument for Rittenhouse when he said that he was approaching with his gun out because he was concerned for Rittenhouse’s safety from the man who was kicking him in the head and from Huber who was hitting him in the head with a skateboard.

Grosskreutz claimed that he told police he shouted to Anthony Huber — the second man shot — to stop attacking Rittenhouse with the skateboard that he had. But the defense got him to admit “with the benefit of hindsight” that wasn’t true.

The defense also pointed out that Grosskreutz has filed a lawsuit for $10 million for damages against the city of Kenosha, as well as a federal action, thus potentially giving him an interest in how the criminal trial might come out to help or harm his case. The defense also pointed out that Grosskreutz didn’t mention that he had a gun in either of his filings.

Grosskreutz was also asked about being affiliated with a Communist organization.

The defense asked Grosskreutz if he had any regrets from that night. Grosskreutz denied having any. The reason they asked that question is because, according to a social media post of his friend Jacob Marshall, Grosskreutz said he regretted not killing Rittenhouse.

Grosskreutz claimed that he didn’t say that. Now the defense is going to put Marshall on the stand on Wednesday and try to use him to impugn Grosskreutz.

Other telling testimony came from Kenosha Police detective Ben Antaramian. The detective said that the only people that Rittenhouse fired at were those who attacked him, again reinforcing the claim of self-defense.

That was on top of the testimony already adduced showing that the first person shot — Joseph Rosenbaum — threatened to kill Rittenhouse if he caught him alone, chased him, and grabbed for his gun.

It’s hard to imagine a prosecution that’s collapsed more than this.

Yet, as we observed earlier, the media didn’t headline the serious problems that happened with the prosecution’s case, instead focusing on Grosskreutz testifying he felt in fear of his life. They certainly didn’t headline that he admitted that Rittenhouse only shot him after he advanced on him and pointed the gun at him.

We’ll have to see how it continues to unspool but that it’s not looking good for the prosecution right now would be a bit of an understatement.