Defense lays out self-defense case for Kyle Rittenhouse in opening arguments

Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder presides over a pre-trial hearing for Kyle Rittenhouse, foreground, at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Schroeder laid out the final ground rules on what evidence will be allowed when Rittenhouse goes on trial for killing two people and wounding a third during a protest against police brutality in August 2020. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)

Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder presides over a pre-trial hearing for Kyle Rittenhouse, foreground, at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Schroeder laid out the final ground rules on what evidence will be allowed when Rittenhouse goes on trial for killing two people and wounding a third during a protest against police brutality in August 2020. (Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP)

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UPDATED 2:03 PM PT – Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Defense attorneys outlined their case for self-defense during opening arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, which started Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin with both sides delivering remarks to the 11 women and nine men who will decide the teen’s fate.

Rittenhouse has been accused of killing two people and wounding a third during Black Lives Matter riots in August of 2020. Experts say under Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse has a strong self-defense case and prosecutors will have to convince the jury he forfeited that claim after showing up with a weapon.

Prosecutors argue Rittenhouse was the aggressor during last year’s incident and had no justification for the shooting. However, defense lawyers say Rittenhouse was attacked by a mob and did what he could to survive.

“Kyle Rittenhouse protected himself, protected his firearm so it couldn’t be taken, used against him or other people,” said Mark Richards, attorney for Rittenhouse. “From Mr. Rosenbaum who had made threats to kill and the other individuals, who didn’t see that shooting, attacked him in the street like an animal. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what the evidence will show.”

During jury selection Monday, the judge warned jurors of “irresponsible and deliberately biased” media coverage surrounding the case. The judge noted, their decision can not be influenced by politics.

The 18-year-old faces life in prison on seven charges, including homicide and attempted homicide. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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