Rittenhouse Defense Attorney: Victim Was a Sex Offender


By Hannah Claire Brimelow

One of the men Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed last year was a sex offender and intended to take Rittenhouse’s gun, according to his attorney. 

As a sex offender, Mark Richards argues, Joseph Rosenbaum would not have been legally allowed to own a firearm. The lawyer wrote in court filings that Rosenbaum attacked Rittenhouse with the intention of taking his weapon. 

Rosenbaum was convicted of having sex with a minor in 2002 in Arizona. Documents from Pima County Arizona Court of Clerks allegedly show he “was charged by a grand jury with 11 counts of child molestation and inappropriate sexual activity around children, including sodomy,” according to Law Enforcement Today.

An attorney for Rosenbaum’s estate said in a phone interview with AP News, “We believe strongly that Mr. Rittenhouse was the aggressor and his actions were not lawful.” 

Last summer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a white police officer, Officer Rusten Sheskey, shot and paralyzed a black man, James Blake, during a call to a domestic disturbance.  

The demonstrations that followed “gave way to clashes that ended with $50 million in damages, including burned buildings, looted stores, and the shuttering of a majority of black-owned businesses in uptown Kenosha,” according to the Washington Examiner. 

Businesses called on local militias to help them protect their livelihoods. 

Because of this request, Kyle Rittenhouse left his home Antioch, Illinois on August 25, 2020 and ultimately shot three protestors. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were killed and the other was wounded. He turned himself in to police hours after the event. 

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, is facing charges of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree recklessly endangering safety.  

His lawyers believe he acted in self-defense. They point to multiple cellphone videos that capture the event in question. In the documents, Richard said, “Huber hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard and tried to grab his gun” while the third victim, Gaige Grosskreutz, “pointed a pistol at him.” 

A motion has also been filed to “dismiss a charge that Rittenhouse couldn’t possess a gun because he was too young under Wisconsin law, arguing that statutes prohibit minors from possessing short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and Rittenhouse’s assault-style rifle doesn’t meet that definition,” per AP News

The case grabbed national attention during an already divisive summer. Rittenhouse was severely denounced by the Left. Harper’s Bazaar said the teen was a “white male youth” who wanted to “become a frontline mercenary for white supremacy.” Conservatives hailed him as a champion of gun rights and raised money for his bail. 

Last month, in a 17-0 vote, the Kenosha City Council denied James Blake’s request for $777,000 in “special damages.” Officer Sheskey was cleared of the shooting and has returned to work. 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article gave the unintended impression that Timcast conducted a phone interview with Kimberley Motley, an attorney representing Joseph Rosenbaum’s estate. The prior version also attributed a quote to Mark Richards that was a quote from the AP News article linked above. Lastly, one mention of an “assault-style weapon” has been revised as a “weapon.” Additional typos and spelling errors have been corrected.  

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