By: Peter Suciu
Based on photographic and video "evidence," as well as statements made by Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Thomas Binger, he is no expert on firearms – and could arguably use some firearms training, both on the laws and on the safe handling of a weapon.
Photos show Binger recklessly holding an AR-15 owned by Kyle Rittenhouse – the 18-year-old on trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Binger's finger can be seen on the trigger while videos online appeared to show him sweeping the courtroom's spectator section.
Images of Binger's irresponsible handling of a firearm were widely shared on social media.
The prosecutors also argued that Rittenhouse's possession of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 was illegal, but the defense lawyers countered that the statute barring "possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18" did not apply. Judge Bruce Schroeder agreed with the defense and dismissed the misdemeanor gun possession charge on Monday.
Legal experts have also questioned Binger's claim that Rittenhouse lost his right to self-defense because he was "the one who brought the gun." The ADA further claimed that Rosenbaum never threatened Rittenhouse's life, because there was "no video" of it, yet there was eye-witness testimony to the contrary.
"You lose the right to self-defense when you're the one who brought the gun," Binger told the jury in his closing arguments on Monday, adding, "You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create. If you're the one threatening others, you lose the right to claim self-defense."
Binger further argued that Rittenhouse actually provoked the attack from Joseph Rosenbaum on the evening of August 25, 2020, and as such, would not be entitled to self-defense unless he was facing death or great bodily harm and exhausted every other means to escape the attack. Rittenhouse is now facing five felony charges related to the deaths of Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, as well as the injuries sustained by Gross Grosskreutz.
The defense team has countered that the then-17-year-old was acting in self-defense when he shot the three men on August 23, 2020.
Other legal experts have weighed in and suggested that the ADA's argument falls short.
"When Rosenbaum lunged at him, he certainly had the right to use self-defense and pull the trigger. Threatening to use dangerous force — if that in fact was — doesn't take away your right to use deadly force," Paul Bucher, a Wisconsin defense attorney with Bucher Law Group who is not involved in the trial, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
The case is now in the hands of the jury.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.