Prosecutors in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial have possessed an FBI thermal image video taken by a plane flying above the Kenosha riots for over a year.
In opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger claimed that Rittenhouse was the person who chased Joseph Rosenbaum first before Rosenbaum started chasing Rittenhouse, leading to the first shooting.
That was significant because it was an attempt to paint Rittenhouse as an aggressor, which could weaken a self-defense argument and was previously unknown. The only thing known before day 1 of the trial was that Rosenbaum is seen on video chasing Rittenhouse.
The FBI thermal image video seems to contradict the narrative prosecutors told jurors earlier in the opening statements. First of all, they never backed it up in court when they called the FBI agent to the stand. Secondly it’s hard to tell from the video what was going on; perhaps Rittenhouse was just walking down the sidewalk in the general direction of Rosenbaum, who was near some cars (rioters were vandalizing cars in the area). Furthermore, it appears to show Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse as the shooting occurred. Why didn’t it emerge earlier if the FBI had evidence in a homicide case?
New videos were played Wednesday that just buttressed what we already knew: Rosenbaum was chasing down Rittenhouse when he was shot. They included the FBI infrared video that was briefly discussed on Tuesday. But it just shows Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse at the critical moment too.
Kenosha Detective Martin Howard told defense attorney Richards that it appeared in the video that Rosenbaum was hiding at first, and then right after that was the time when Rittenhouse said “friendly, friendly, friendly,” but it didn’t stop Rosenbaum from chasing him.
Binger’s infrared Rittenhouse-was-chasing-first argument seemed weak for another reason. What matters in determining self-defense is what Rittenhouse’s state of mind was when he opened fire, not minutes before he was chased down by Rosenbaum, who tried to grab his gun while screaming “f*** you,” according to the defense, which also claims Rosenbaum threatened to kill Rittenhouse earlier in the day. Rittenhouse is claiming self defense for the shootings of Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz. The first two men died.
In addition, on Nov. 4, 2021, Daily Caller video editor Richie McGinniss, who was running behind Rosenbaum, testified that Rosenbaum was lunging for Rittenhouse’s gun and advancing toward him when Rittenhouse opened fire. Read about McGinniss’s account here.
You can watch the FBI thermal image video and decide for yourself.
FBI Thermal Image Video Testimony
When the prosecutor called FBI agent Brandon Cramin to the stand, the agent’s testimony was cut off before anyone even established who the infrared figures were in the video. This is apparently so top secret that the judge cut off the audio and video to the FBI agent’s testimony. However, a pool report from a journalist in the courtroom gave the following bizarre account (in the pool reporter’s words):
Prosecutors said they were done questioning the agent before they ever identified anyone in the grainy footage of the FBI thermal image video or explaining the significance of it to the Rittenhouse case.
During cross-examination, the defense asked for the tail number of the two-man plane, the prosecutors objected. The judge then asked the attorneys to step forward for a sidebar on the issue.
The judge asked jurors to leave the courtroom as they continued to discuss the FBI thermal image video taken by the FBI agent in the surveillance plane. Defense lawyer Mark Richards told the judge he believes there was other video taken by the FBI that’s no longer available.
Richards said he was incredulous that the FBI could take video that captured alleged homicides and then got rid of that video.
“That is preposterous,” Richards added. The judge balked when prosecutor Binger told him regarding footage from the plane that “the federal government is not under our control.”
“I beg your pardon,” the judge said, interrupting Binger.
“I don’t get this,” the judge said. “This is a criminal prosecution … if there is going to be cloak and dagger stuff. What’s going on?”
He later said prosecutors should skip the FBI agent for now, call a different witness, and come back to the issue of the plane later.
It’s all bizarre, but it should be mentioned again that Binger made a big deal in opening statements about Rittenhouse supposedly chasing Rosenbaum first (he also said Rosenbaum was “very easy to see in the video,” and then didn’t back it up.