The jurors who cleared Kyle Rittenhouse on the five charges against him – ranging from intentional homicide to reckless homicide to reckless endangerment – haven’t yet spoken publicly.
They’ll be asked, “Where did you find reasonable doubt?”
Jamie White, a civil rights lawyer, told USA TODAY that the teen from Illinois was not found guilty in Friday’s polarizing case. This comes more than one year after he killed two men and wounded three others during protests in Kenosha.
“They didn’t have to come up with reasonable doubt,” said White, a Michigan-based criminal defense attorney who has represented dozens of sexual abuse victims in high-profile cases involving the Boy Scouts of America and Larry Nassar, the disgraced former doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. . “They never got there. It was all about, was he (Rittenhouse) acting reasonably at the time of the shootings?”
The “reasonable doubt was self-defense,” contended Lara Yeretsian, a veteran criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles.
“If you’ve got them convinced of self-defense, if you’ve got them to believe that everything he did was to defend his life and his life was at risk, that if he wouldn’t have shot those men he’d be dead himself, that’s it,” said Yeretsian, who’s worked on high-profile cases including the defenses of Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson.
Kyle Rittenhouse verdict reactions“Justice system broke” to “Justice system works.”
“As far as his testimony goes, the jurors clearly found him credible and that in itself is huge,” she added. “If you believe him when he says self-defense, then you have to acquit him.”
Others legal experts were also not surprised by the verdict.
Julius Kim, former prosecutor and Wisconsin defense lawyer, stated that anyone could have seen the evidence to see that the jury may struggle to reach a unanimous verdict that Kyle Rittenhouse was not defending himself.
“They were not deciding here – who do they believe more. They were deciding a very specific legal question: Do they think the prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn’t self-defense,” ABC chief legal analyst Dan Abrams World News TonightHe also stated that videos were especially impactful for the jury because they included footage of the shootings.
USA TODAY has learned that Thomas Binger the State’s Prosecutor didn’t aid their case. Legal experts said so.
While White said he “wasn’t impressed at all by the prosecutor,” although he also acknowledged he didn’t have access to all the evidence, he did agree with Binger’s argument to the jury that “when you talk about self-defense, it has to be proportionate – and using a semi-automatic rifle on someone who’s kicking you or hitting you with a skateboard is not proportionate.”
“If anything was going to turn the table, I thought it was going to be that argument, that you can’t bring a gun to a fistfight,” White said. “But, in this case, the jury ruled that you could.”
These were Kyle Rittenhouse’s shooting victims. Anthony Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum, Gaige Grosskreutz
Binger’s inability to sway the jury on proportionate use of force was a pivotal moment in a trial that began with him already facing “an uphill battle,” Yeretsian told USA TODAY.
“Even the prosecution’s witnesses, they were supporting the defense’s argument – when the one survivor testified that he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse and that’s when Rittenhouse shot him, that gives the jury enough,” she said.
Putting Rittenhouse on the stand, Yeretsian said, was “risky but the right move, especially in a trial with the entire nation watching it.” Rittenhouse’s emotional testimony – he cried at one point – worked in his favor, she said.
“He’s got this baby face, he shed some tears, that could pull at some heart strings – defense attorneys count on those things,” Yeretsian said. “But other than the few moments of crying and him being emotional, he was pretty calm and able to explain his side. He came across as credible.”
She added, “(The jury) bought the self-defense argument, and that’s really the bottom line.”