CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who was caught masturbating on camera during a work Zoom call last October, said Wednesday that Kyle Rittenhouse is lucky he's not on trial for being “an idiot.”
Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and first-degree attempted intentional homicide for shooting three people — killing two and injuring the third — during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. Defense attorneys argue Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, acted in self-defense. He has pleaded not guilty.
The teenager took the stand Wednesday to testify in his own defense. During cross-examination by the prosecution, Rittenhouse broke down in tears as he recounted the events that led to the shootings.
The trial has proved contentious, as Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger's attempts to ask questions Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder has ruled were beyond the scope of the trial have repeatedly angered the judge.
As Rittenhouse testified, Toobin called him an “idiot” for his actions.
“What kind of idiot 17-year-old gets a giant gun and goes to a riot? He has no license, he has no training, he thinks he's going to scrub graffiti off with his AR-15?” he asked.
“I mean, the stupidity of this is like — what could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot went wrong,” said Toobin.
Continuing, Toobin said the “good news” for Rittenhouse is that he's “not on trial for being an idiot” and that the prosecution has a “tough case” to show he's a murderer.
“He's on trial for homicide, and in that respect … this is a tough case for the prosecution because it does seem like he has a plausible case of self-defense,” Toobin said.
“If it were illegal to be an idiot, the jails would be even more crowded than they are now. Homicide's a different matter, and, you know, he may have a defense here,” he added.
Rittenhouse testified Wednesday that he went to Kenosha on the morning of August 25 to clean up graffiti and returned later that night with a rifle and small medical kit to meet with other armed people. “I went down there to provide first aid,” he said. He testified that he was not looking for trouble.
Rittenhouse testified he used “deadly force” against four people during the violence and confusion of the riot in attempts to defend himself, after receiving threats against his person.
“I didn't know if it was going to kill them, but I used deadly force to stop the threat that was attacking me,” he said.
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