State Watch

Judge admonishes prosecutor in Rittenhouse trial

The judge in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial admonished the prosecutor during the teenager’s cross-examination. 

The spat came as prosecutor Thomas Binger began cross-examining Rittenhouse after he testified about the events that led to his fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisc. last year.

Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder first warned Binger when he questioned Rittenhouse on why he chose to remain silent about the incident until now.

“The problem is this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence,” Schroder said. “You’re right on the borderline, and you may be over it. But it better stop.” 

Later in cross-examination, Schroeder admonished Binger after defense attorney Mark Richards accused Binger of trying to provoke a mistrial. 

An argument then ensued after Binger appeared to bring a matter before the jury that Schroeder was previously inclined to not allow.

“I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence,” Schroeder said. “That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.”

Binger then responded that he filed another motion on the issue, arguing that it was relevant to the discussion. The prosecutor now said he wanted to “impeach” Rittenhouse on his belief about protecting property with the prior incident, which involved the same gun.

Schroeder explained that he had allowed that kind of testimony in other trials, but had not allowed it in this case.

“Just hours ago, I said, I heard nothing in this trial to change any of my rulings,” Schroeder said

“That was before the defendant’s testimony, your honor,” Binger responded.

“Don’t get brazen with me,” the judge fired back. “You knew very well that attorneys can’t go into these types of areas when the judge has already ruled without asking outside the presence of the jury to do so. So don’t give me that.”

Schroeder said that he didn’t want to have “another issue” for the duration of the trial.


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