'I did what I had to do': Rittenhouse testifies

WARNING: THIS REPORT CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT

Teenage murder defendant Kyle Rittenhouse testified in his own defense on Wednesday, at one point breaking down sobbing on the witness stand.

Rittenhouse tried to portray himself as wanting to help others by providing medical aid during the protests last year in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin and said he used his weapon only after being attacked and ambushed.

"Mr Zamensky instructed Mr Rosenbaum to 'get him and kill him'. That's what I heard."

Rittenhouse ended up killing two men and injuring a third during that chaotic night. He is charged in the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz. He has pleaded not guilty. He says he acted in self-defense.

Rittenhouse: "I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me."

Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger: "By killing them?"

"Two of them passed away but I stopped the threat from attacking me."

"By using deadly force?"

"I used deadly force."

Dressed in a navy blue suit and dark blue tie, Rittenhouse initially was composed on the witness stand until his attorney began asking him to detail his encounter with Rosenbaum, who he shot four times. Video evidence has shown Rosenbaum pursuing and throwing a plastic bag at Rittenhouse before the fatal encounter.

Some jurors watched with a look of sympathy as he cried. Rittenhouse's mother sobbed in her seat in the courtroom watching her son.

Prosecutors sought to paint Rittenhouse as a vigilante who carried an assault-style weapon into a volatile melee and wanted to use it, asking him about his ammunition and penchant for playing violent video games.

But they enraged the judge.

Schroeder: “Don’t get brazen with me!”

When the jury was out of the room, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder scolded the prosecution for attempting to introduce evidence he previously had deemed inadmissible.

"You know very well that an attorney 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!"

After the exchange, the defense made a motion for a mistrial.

Rittenhouse has emerged as a divisive figure. He is a hero to some conservatives who believe in unfettered gun rights and see the shootings as justified during the chaos in Kenosha, while many on the left see him as a symbol of a gun culture run amok.

Prosecutors during the trial have emphasized that Rittenhouse was the only person to have shot anyone during the demonstrations in Kenosha, which occurred three months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests over racism and police brutality.

Rittenhouse faces a misdemeanor charge of underage possession of his weapon along with five felony counts.

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