Kyle Rittenhouse Lawyers: He Was Just 'Hunting'. What Do You Mean That's Worse?
In an attempt this week to get the gun charge against him dropped, Kyle Rittenhouse's lawyers tried to argue that Wisconsin's hunting laws permitted him to patrol the streets of Kenosha with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, even though he was only 17 at the time and another law states that no one under 18 may possess a dangerous weapon like that.
The Chicago Tribune reports that on Tuesday, defense attorney Corey Chirafisi pointed to a state statute that requires specific training and supervision for anyone hunting under the age of 16, noting, "There appears to be an exception for 17-year-olds."
Rittenhouse, you may recall, went up to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from his home in Illinois specifically to defend a used car dealership from Black Lives Matter protesters, an activity that is not traditionally considered to be "hunting." Unless of course one is an eccentric, sociopathic Russian aristocrat living on an island and luring shipwrecked sailors to one's estate for the purposes of hunting them down and killing them.
But this is the United States, not "Ship-trap Island," and we have different rules here.
The prosecution has no problem with this line of defense, saying that if Rittenhouse's lawyers want to present the theory to a jury, they should go right ahead and knock themselves out.
"They can submit evidence that the defendant had a certificate to hunt and he was engaged in legal hunting on the streets of Kenosha that night," said Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, adding, "I don't think they really want to do that."
Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder is less sure that this is a good idea, saying he wants to review the statutes himself. "I don't feel comfortable making a ruling," he said, according to the Tribune. "The basic concept is the rule ... has to be clear to ordinary people."
Rittenhouse's defense so far has focused on claiming that he was acting in self defense, a claim that would certainly conflict with the idea that he killed two people and injured one while he was out hunting ... in a used car lot, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Via Chicago Tribune:
In a preview of Rittenhouse's defense, [self-defense expert John R.] Black testified that each time Rittenhouse pulled the trigger he was doing so to protect himself and stop his gun from being taken.
"I do believe they (Rittenhouse's actions) were reasonably necessary," he said.
Black says his findings are all predicated on his belief that each person Rittenhouse shot wanted to take away his gun. Videos from that night show several people trying to disarm Rittenhouse after he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and ran away from the scene, but there is no clear image of an unarmed Rosenbaum trying to take the rifle.
So just to recap:
Who knows what their next defense will be? My guess is that they will claim that Kyle Rittenhouse saw the Mars Cheese Castle and figured he was in an another country not subject to the gun/homicide laws of Wisconsin, but at this point anything is possible.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse