Kyle Rittenhouse testifies in his own defense

By Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0220 GMT (1020 HKT) November 11, 2021
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6:57 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Here's what happened today in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial

(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News/Pool/AP)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News/Pool/AP)

Kyle Rittenhouse, the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, took the stand today to testify in his own defense in his trial on homicide charges.

Here's what happened today in court:

  • Rittenhouse says he did nothing wrong: Rittenhouse defended his actions in Kenosha, in the wake of the protests related to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020, telling the court "I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself." The teenager also said he didn't intend to kill anyone, but agreed he used "deadly force" that night.
  • Emotional testimony: Rittenhouse broke down on the stand while describing the night of the shooting prompting the judge to call a 10-minute recess
  • Rittenhouse says he was "ambushed": Rittenhouse testified that Joseph Rosenbaum, who he shot and killed, had threatened to kill him and said he "came out from behind the car and ambushed me" before the shooting. He said later in his testimony that he believed Rosenbaum "tried to take my gun," adding, "if he would have taken my gun he would've used it against me" and "killed me."
  • No physical contact: Rittenhouse said that Rosenbaum had not physically touched him.
  • Motion for a mistrial: Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said in court this afternoon that the defense is making a motion for a mistrial with prejudice claiming the prosecutor, ADA Thomas Binger, committed "what amounts to prosecutorial overreach." The judge said he would take the motion under advisement.
  • Judge admonishes the prosecutor: Twice during cross-examination, Schroeder asked the jury to leave the courtroom and then sharply admonished Binger for his line of questioning.

6:26 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Judge tells jurors to expect to finish by early next week 

From CNN's Brad Parks


At the end of court on Wednesday, Judge Bruce Schroeder told members of the Kyle Rittenhouse jury that he expected to finish the case by early next week. 

"I have just discussed the matter with the lawyers, and I'm very confident that we will finish by Tuesday as I asked you about a couple of weeks ago. And there is a bare chance, I don't want to get your hopes up, but there is a chance we can finish on Monday. And that's the best of my information. It isn't a promise, but I think that's very realistic," Schroeder told the jury. 

Before speaking with the jury, defense attorneys indicated to Schroeder they have three witnesses left to call in the case. 

Schroeder asked prosecutors if they expected to call any rebuttal witnesses after the defense rests their case.

Prosecutor Thomas Binger replied, "I don't think it's going to be extensive, but we do reserve the right to call…" 

"Understood," Schroeder interjected. 

After polling the attorneys outside the presence of the jury, the judge also indicated there will be no court this upcoming weekend. 

Defense attorneys said that Dr. John Black is expected to be the first witness for the defense called Thursday morning. 

Court is in recess until 10 a.m. ET Thursday.

5:48 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Trial adjourns until Thursday morning

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer, has adjourned for the day.

The trial will resume Thursday morning.

4:58 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse testifies that Joseph Rosenbaum "would have taken my gun" and used it against him

From CNN's Mike Hayes


Kyle Rittenhouse was asked during cross-examination about his encounter with Joseph Rosenbaum before he shot and killed him last summer.

Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum "tried to take my gun," adding, "If he would have taken my gun he would've used it against me" and "killed me."

The questioning grew tense and Rittenhouse grew emotional, telling prosecutor Thomas Binger, "I don't know what Mr. Rosenbuaum was thinking when he tried to grab my gun"

While fighting back tears, Rittenhouse repeatedly stated that Rosenbaum "would've killed me" if he allowed him to take his gun from him.

Rittenhouse testified that he "never wanted to shoot, Mr. Rosenbaum" but "he was chasing me."

The defendant insisted that the reason he pointed his gun at Rosenbaum was so he "would stop chasing me."

4:16 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says Joseph Rosenbaum never physically touched him

From CNN’s Tiffany Anthony


As Kyle Rittenhouse’s testimony resumed after a lunch break, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked about his encounter with Joseph Rosenbaum.

Rittenhouse testified earlier that Rosenbaum threatened him twice. 

This was the exchange:

"Did he swing the chain at you when he made the second threat?,” Binger asked.
"He did not," Rittenhouse replied. 
"Did he physically touch you when he made the second threat?"
"No, he didn't,” Rittenhouse answered.
"In fact, that entire evening he never once touched your body, did he?,” Binger asked. 
"He grabbed my gun when he attacked me,” Rittenhouse said.
"And that is why I asked the question the way I did. He never touched your body that night correct?,” Binger asked. 
“He didn't touch me physically,” Rittenhouse said. 

Binger also asked Rittenhouse if Rosenbaum had any type of weapon other than the chain Rittenhouse believed he had and whether Rosenbaum charged at him or was physically aggressive toward him. 

Rittenhouse said he did not. 


3:58 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Legal experts weigh in on Rittenhouse's testimony

From CNN's Areva Martin, Laura Coates, Joey Jackson and Jeffrey Toobin

Is Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony on the stand so far helping or hurting his case? Legal experts weighed in on CNN during a break in the trial this afternoon. Here's what they said.

CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin

"It was a risky move by the defense team to put him on the stand... but I think in this case, given how the evidence has been presented by the prosecution, that it is working for the defense."

"They presented a very different picture of a Kyle Rittenhouse than what we had seen in the media reports. This is a Kyle Rittenhouse that went there to do good, to take graffiti off of a school, to render aid, to help save a business. This was a very ... humanized Kyle Rittenhouse, and that's what the defense wanted to do ... I think so far Kyle's testimony probably went over pretty well." 

CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates

"If I was the defense, I would have put him on the stand... There was a lot of sympathetic media towards him, people who thought about him as essentially as bit of a martyr from this inflection point on racial tension in America."

However, if "I'm the prosecution, I need him to take the stand for the reasons that came through on the cross-examination. Remember, when he was asked questions by his own attorney you saw the waterworks coming out. He was crying... he was overcome with emotion."

CNN analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson

The defense has "done excellent ... the reality is I say they did well."

"He explained himself with respect to why force was necessary ... He said, 'there was a gun pointed at me, I was in fear for my life.'"

"The reality is that the jurors will render a verdict based upon all types of evidence, but with regard to a defendant testifying, I think this couldn't have gone much better than it did, and the cross couldn't touch him with respect to the prosecutor cross-examining him to try to otherwise discredit him. Didn't do a good job."

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin

"The good news for Kyle Rittenhouse is that he's not on trial for being an idiot. He's on trial for homicide."

"This is a tough case for the prosecution because it does seem like he has a plausible case of self-defense and ... if it were illegal to be an idiot, the jails would be even more crowded than they are now. Homicide is a different matter ... he may have a defense here."

3:50 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says he would have used a handgun for protection if he could have legally possessed it

From CNN’s Carma Hassan


The prosecution zeroed in on Kyle Rittenhouse’s AR-15 type rifle during cross-examination Wednesday. 

“Everybody that you shot at that night, you intended to kill, correct?,” Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked him.
“I didn’t intend to kill them, I intended to stop the people who were attacking me,” Rittenhouse replied.
“By killing them,” Binger asked.
“I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me,” Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse told Binger that he thought he could possess a rifle, but not purchase it at the age of 17 in Wisconsin.

“I cannot legally possess or carry a pistol because I'm not 18 in Wisconsin. I believe it's 18 in Wisconsin for a pistol, but with the rifle, I knew I could possess that rifle. I knew I couldn't buy it but I knew I could like take it, to like the shooting range or possess it,” Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse also told Binger that the rifle got in the way at times when he was trying to treat people at the protests in Kenosha that night.

“This big, long AR-15 really got in the way whenever you tried to help someone, right,” Binger asked.

“Sometimes,” Rittenhouse answered, adding, “If I could have legally carried a handgun, I would have carried a handgun…instead of a rifle.”

When Binger asked Rittenhouse if he knew “the capabilities” of the weapon, Rittenhouse replied, “I knew that it could shoot, and I believe from a distance, I don't know how far I'm not an expert on AR-15s.”

3:18 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse testifies that he lied during an interview that he was a certified EMT

From CNN's Mike Hayes


Kyle Rittenhouse was asked during cross-examination about an interview that he gave to a video journalist the night of the shooting. The prosecution played video clips from that interview during Rittenhouse's testimony.

In one clip, the person taking the video asks Rittenhouse if he is a certified emergency medical technician. In the video, Rittenhouse replies yes.

After the clip was played, prosecutor Thomas Binger asked Rittenhouse if he lied during the interview that he was an EMT.

"I'm not an EMT," Rittenhouse replied.

Binger followed up, "You're not a certified EMT, you're not an EMT of any kind, you weren't on that night, correct?"

"Yes," Rittenhouse responded.

Here was the rest of the exchange:

Binger: "So you lied to him, correct?"
Rittenhouse: "I told him I was an EMT, but I wasn't."
Binger: "And you knew you were being interviewed by someone in the media when you told that lie, didn't you? 
Rittenhouse: "Yes."


3:12 p.m. ET, November 10, 2021

Rittenhouse says he brought a gun to the protests "to protect myself" if he was attacked

Prosecutor Thomas Binger questioned Kyle Rittenhouse about why he felt it necessary to bring a weapon to the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.

"I needed the gun because if I had to protect myself because somebody attacked me," Rittenhouse testified Wednesday afternoon in his own defense.

When asked by Binger why he thought anyone would attack him at the protests, Rittenhouse said, "I don't know."

"I brought the gun to protect myself," Rittenhouse said.

Here's more from the exchange between Binger and Rittenhouse:

Binger: "I don't understand. You said you're going to bring the gun to protect yourself, so you thought you were going to be in danger, right?"
Rittenhouse: "I didn't think I would be put into a situation to where I would have to defend myself."