The Wisconsin judge overseeing the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial excoriated the prosecution during a heated back-and-forth Wednesday morning after the state attempted to introduce evidence that had previously been ruled inadmissible.
“Don’t get brazen with me!” Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder snapped at Kenosha Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger after the jury was escorted out of the room.
“You know very well that an attorney can’t go into these types of areas where the judge has already ruled without asking outside of the presence of the jury to do so, so don’t give me that,” Schroeder scoffed.
In a surprise move, Rittenhouse, 18, took the stand in his own defense during the closely watched trial, and as Binger cross-examined him, the ADA attempted to bring up a past event that the judge had previously ruled was inadmissible in a pretrial order.
“You have previously indicated that you wished you had your AR-15 to protect someone’s property, correct?” Binger asked after Rittenhouse testified that deadly force shouldn’t be used to protect property.
Binger explained to the judge once the jury was out of the room that he was trying to “impeach” Rittenhouse on his own testimony by bringing up a past event where the defendant allegedly said he wanted to shoot shoplifters, and thus, believed deadly force should be used to protect property.
Shroeder shot back that just because someone did something on one occasion, doesn’t mean they’re going to do it on another occasion.
“This is propensity evidence. I said at the time that I made that ruling and I’ll repeat again now for you. I see no similarity between talking about wishing you had your AR gun, which you don’t have, so you can fire rounds at these thought to be shoplifters and the incidents in these cases,” Shroeder railed.
“I commented at the time I don’t see the similarities and I don’t see the similarities now.”
Binger and Schroeder had already gotten into it moments earlier after the prosecutor attempted to draw out the fact that Rittenhouse was only just now telling his story in an attempt by the ADA to convince the jury that the defendant’s testimony had been carefully tailored.
“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence,” Schroeder, who called the move on the border of a “grave constitutional violation,” shouted at Binger.
“That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 or 50 years … You’re an experienced trial lawyer, and this should not have been gone into.”
Rittenhouse’s attorney was visibly angered during the back-and-forth and was seen on camera rolling his eyes and leaning back in his chair in exasperation.
“This is ridiculous,” Mark Richards told the judge.
“I ask the court to strongly admonish him and the next time this happens, I’m going to ask for a mistrial with prejudice.”
Binger eventually backed off the questioning and continued in his cross-examination before the trial broke for lunch.