MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse’s attorney wants a judge to allow him to argue that one of the men his client fatally shot during a Wisconsin protest was a person convicted of a sex offense, saying it supports a defense theory that he attacked Rittenhouse and intended to take his gun because he couldn’t legally possess one.
Mark Richards maintained in court filings Thursday that Joseph Rosenbaum was convicted of having sex with a minor in Arizona in 2002 and was prohibited from possessing firearms. Rosenbaum started the altercation with Rittenhouse in hopes of making off with his assault-style rifle, which only bolsters Rittenhouse’s self-defense argument, Richards wrote.
Kimberley Motley, an attorney representing Rosenbaum’s estate, rejected Richards’ theory but declined to comment further since the case against Rittenhouse remains open.
“We believe strongly that Mr. Rittenhouse was the aggressor and his actions were not lawful,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Richards also filed a motion to dismiss a charge that Rittenhouse couldn’t possess a gun because he was too young under Wisconsin law, arguing that statutes prohibit minors from possessing short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and Rittenhouse’s assault-style rifle doesn’t meet that definition.
Rittenhouse, who is white, traveled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, on Aug. 25 to answer a call from local militia to protect businesses from protesters. The demonstrations began after a white Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, during a domestic disturbance, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
The protests turned chaotic that night. According to prosecutors, Rittenhouse opened fire on Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz. He killed Rosenbaum and Huber. Grosskreutz was hit but survived.
Rittenhouse was 17 years old at the time. Now 18, he maintains he fired in self-defense but prosecutors have charged him with a litany of counts, including reckless homicide, recklessly endangering safety, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and being a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon.
Black Lives Matter supports have painted him as a trigger-happy white supremacist. Conservatives have made him into a symbol for gun rights, generating $2 million for his bail. His trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 1.
Prosecutors filed motions last week asking a judge to allow a video from July 2020 which they said shows Rittenhouse striking a teenage girl in the back on Kenosha’s waterfront. They also want to argue that Rittenhouse is affiliated with the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group.
Photos taken in January show Rittenhouse drinking in a Mount Pleasant bar and gesturing with what appeared to be a white power symbol. Prosecutors said in their motions they have learned the people Rittenhouse was with included the leader of the Proud Boys’ Wisconsin chapter and several of its high-ranking members.
Richards filed another motion on Thursday arguing evidence related to the altercation between Rittenhouse and the teenage girl is irrelevant.
He also argued that there’s no indication Rittenhouse knew any of the Proud Boys before that night in the bar or that he has associated with the group. What’s more, nothing supports the argument that race was a factor in the shootings, Richards said.
Huber and Grosskreutz were part of a “mob” that was chasing Rittenhouse, Richards wrote in the motion. Huber hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard and tried to grab his gun, and Grosskreutz pointed a pistol at him, Richards wrote.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has scheduled a hearing on the motions for Sept. 17.
The next conclusion will be that anyone labeled a “sex offender” can be shot at any time because they might be planning a crime!
Ugh. Despicable. This man gives defense attorneys a bad name.
I think Court TV is going to broadcast this trial.
I stopped reading the article where it mentioned he is white, and Blake is black.
I absolutely loathe race baiting journalism.
This is a very slanted article after stating the proposed theory. Felons cannot own a firearm and that was one of the theories Rosenbaum chased and tried to grab Rittenhouse’s gun. I wouldn’t buy that theory, but Rosenbaum was the aggressor.
The author left out how all this began as well as is incorrect about why Rittenhouse’s action on that day. Rittenhouse was working in Kenosha that day and after work, his friend recruited him to help protect a car dealership. Rosenbaum started a fire in a big metal trash can near a gas station and Rittenhouse put it out with a fire extinguisher. Then Rosenbaum was chased after Rittenhouse.
It’s terrible writing and should have just left it at the theory. It sucks the title of sex offender is being blasted, but it’s also factual to the theory. Everything after the theory being presented is garbage as it doesn’t have pertinent coverage of the whole situation.
Just say it, murder is illegal except when a person forced to register is killed. This is the logic that occurs when fear and hate become extreme of people forced to register. Hate to have this lawyer defend registrants.
Their contention is the guy was a sex offender who was prohibited from obtaining a firearm through legal means, and so he decided to attack a rifle-carrying man on the street to get one? This is their legal defense and how they explain that their client was only defending himself?
Does the attorney expect anyone to believe this? To believe that the sex offender had no less risky methods of illegally obtaining a firearm?
These two teams are looking like kids arguing on the playground for the last seat on a swing set with the playground monitor trying to decide who gets it. Hamilton Burger and Perry Mason are rolling in their character graves.
Charge Rittenhouse with “a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon”… anything can be a dangerous weapon you dumbass, even a skateboard made into one, or a hammer, a pocket knife, a moving vehicle, etc. Don’t have to kill someone for the quickly created weapon to be dangerous, just hurt or maim is enough if the attorney is bright enough to spin it that way.
Trying to Justify murdering an unarmed man because he’s a sex offender is gonna be the new norm.
Anyone can just say he made sexual advances and then came at me i was so scared i shot him.
This will be a very interesting trial to watch, and I’ll do my best to bypass media daily translations and instead watch it live. Rittenhouse has the right to a rigorous defense.
In the context of this article, if Rittenhouse was acting in self defense because Rosenbaum was on the hit list, maybe Rosenbaum was acting in self defense and trying to disarm a dangerous Rittenhouse who wanted to kill Rosenbaum because of his being on the hit list. Registrant or not, Rosenbaum had a self defense right to disarm a dangerous man for the sake of public safety when there is an unlawful immediate threat to life or of great bodily injury to anyone.
I’ll wait for the trial for the facts.
Didn’t just mention he was a convicted felon…. but, worst of all, a registered “sex offender”!! A obvious suggestion that Rosenbaum was “less than human” and killing him was less of a crime and more like an acceptable public service. 😒
Am I wrong?
This is Stretch-Armstrong level of a defense stretch. Of all the ways to obtain a gun when you legally can’t, wrestling it out of the hands of an individual during a riot has to rank as the bottom of the bottom. The judge is going to dismiss this hard.
Anyone who watched the videos available online knows that Rittenhouse was attacked by all three men he shot. Rosenbaum’s previous sex offense has nothing to do with his attack on Rittenhouse and shouldn’t be used against him. The video alone shows he attacked Rittenhouse and should be enough.
I dont want to be unkind, or anything, but, have you ever seen a more punchable face than that? If this little jerk gets sent to the slammer, like he should, he is in for a really bad time.
Using sex offense as an excuse to promote and facilitate crime…. one which is more egregious than many of the non-violent, unforceful, non-contact sex crimes out there….
For a far more illuminating and accurate account of Joseph Rosenbaum (the victim) and the circumstances leading to his death, I strongly urge you all to please read the following article.