Rittenhouse Prosecution's Rebuttal Argument Was So Bad It Made Jaws Drop

Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

We’ve been writing about how awful the Rittenhouse prosecution’s case has been.

But the prosecution’s falsehoods during their closing today were more than beyond the pale. Every lawyer wants to put on the best possible case they can. But it doesn’t mean that you falsely frame the law or the facts to the jury. The prosecutor’s first obligation is not to win — but to seek justice and the truth, even if that means that they lose in the process. That wasn’t what we saw on display today in that courtroom.

However, if ADA Thomas Binger’s closing remarks earlier today were bad and troubling from an ethical point of view — and they were — they also had the potential to confuse the jury. They presented a false idea of what the law and the facts were. Binger even tried to argue provocation at the last minute. In words of the defense, Binger came to that argument “after their case explodes.” If the jury believes Binger rather than the truth and is deceived into thinking there is no right of self-defense because Rittenhouse “provoked” Rosenbaum, that could be problematic to the argument of self-defense, as we previously explained.

The defense did bring the closing back to a little sanity with its argument, logically working through the panoply of lies told by the prosecution and reminding the jury what this really was about — not politics or media lies — but the life of a teenager who had been chased and attacked, who was now on trial because he lawfully defended himself. They successfully pointed out multiple lies by the prosecution — impeaching Binger’s credibility — so if any of the jury were inclined to believe anything Binger was saying during his closing argument, they now could see he wasn’t being straight with them.

The prosecution then had an opportunity for rebuttal — meaning they can respond to and rebut what the defense has just said in their closing argument. The prosecution didn’t finish with Binger; ADA James Kraus presented the rebuttal. Instead of helping the case, Kraus seemed to put the final stake in the prosecution’s credibility with what he said.

Kraus continued along the theme that somehow Rittenhouse should have tried to retreat more. But he had tried to retreat. Indeed, he was in full flight running from Joseph Rosenbaum, who was trying to chase him down after threatening to kill him, with Rosenbaum lunging at him and grabbing his gun. Just exactly what would the prosecution have him do in that moment, how much more retreating could he have done?

The prosecution was, in the words of the defense, in “fantasy land.” In addition to retreating more, they were suggesting things nutty things like he could have shot in the air in that microsecond that Rittenhouse had before the wild crazy guy who threatened his life grabbed his gun.

Kraus tried to argue that the guy who threatened to kill Rittenhouse and grab his gun, and the guy who pointed his gun at Rittenhouse’s head, somehow weren’t going to hurt him.

“We’re supposed to believe that Rosenbaum is Jason Bourne or John Wick or some other movie star hero who’s capable of killing with his bare hands and deserved the treatment that he got from the defendant,” Kraus said [….]

Richards was trying to make the three victims seem like “bad people doing bad things,” Kraus said.

“We’re supposed to be so scared of Mr. Grosskreutz with his glock when the defendant is holding a loaded AR-15,” he said.

Yes, ADA Kraus, people are seriously injured all the time from being beaten by crazy people just like Joseph Rosenbaum. And if you think that a Glock is somehow less likely to kill you because it’s a Glock, I don’t know what to say with how ridiculous you are. He had it pointed at Rittenhouse’s head. Had Rittenhouse not shot him, Rittenhouse would quite likely be dead.

But then Kraus hit true peak foolishness. There’s no doubt Kraus saved his worst remarks for the end, when he argued that Rittenhouse was a coward for not fighting back with his fists against Rosenbaum, claiming he brought a gun to a fist fight.

Here he is arguing against all reality that a skateboard can’t be used as a deadly weapon. Apparently when “hero” Anthony Huber bashed Rittenhouse in the head with it as Rittenhouse lay prone on the ground, it was just a love tap.

Does Kraus truly think the jury is this moronic to fall for this? Plus which — he’s acknowledging there was a threat to Rittenhouse implicitly with his arguments.

Finally, Kraus went over the edge and he made an argument that’s going to have the jury thinking the prosecution has a screw loose, if they are at all reasonable people. Kraus argued that Rittenhouse should have taken a beating rather than defend himself. This is truly warped. “Everybody takes a beating sometimes, right?” Kraus argued.

Oh, my. Enough. What is the name for a prosecution doing themselves in? Prosecuticide? There isn’t actually a name for it but now we’ll have to make one up, because that’s what they just did. A clear-eyed jury has to look at all this and think they’re nuts. Let’s just hope after all this, there still is a clear-eyed jury there.