Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Disappointed, prosecutor Thomas Binger, who has been heavily criticized for his actions during the case, sat back in his chair, looked at the ceiling, and issued a sigh as the first verdict in the Kenosha murder trial came in.

Defense lawyer Mark Richards did not hold back, blasting the Kyle Rittenhouse prosecutor within minutes of the end of the trial in Wisconsin.

‘Prosecutors are supposed to seek the truth — it’s not about winning,’ he said.

‘This case became about winning and that’s probably why it got so personal.’

Richards was speaking after Rittenhouse, 18, was sensationally cleared of all charges resulting from the night he took his AR-15 rifle from his home in Antioch, Illinois to the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where demonstrators were protesting the shooting of black man Joseph Blake.

He shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber dead and injured a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz. But the jury of seven women and five men on Friday found him not guilty of all charges.

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Prosecutor Thomas Binger, who has been heavily criticized for his actions during the case, sat back in his chair, looked at the ceiling, and issued a sigh as the first verdict in the Kenosha murder trial came in.

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Mike Graveley, the Kenosha County DA, would normally have taken the case himself, but instead handed it down to prosecutor Thomas Binger. ‘It’s time to put DA Mike Graveley’s picture on a milk carton,’ wrote Milwaukee Right Now

‘I’ve known Tom Binger for a long time,’ Richards said. ‘I knew him when he was a civil lawyer. I’m disappointed with some of the things he did.’

Richards was just the latest to criticize Binger’s performance in the two-week trial, in which he frequently butted heads with Judge Bruce Schroeder.

But Binger wasn’t alone in the legal line of fire.

Many court watchers believe Binger was thrown into the case because District Attorney Graveley — who would normally prosecute such a high-profile case himself — knew the case against Rittenhouse was weak.

‘Binger was set up for failure,’ one Kenosha legal insider told DailyMail.com during the trial. ‘Graveley is the superstar and he knew this one was sure to tarnish it.’

The conservative Milwaukee Right Now said Graveley ‘pawned the case off to his unfortunate assistant district attorney, Thomas Binger, who was left to spin gold out of a pile of self-defense straw.’

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Binger’s presentation of the case in Wisconsin has been marked with missteps and clashes with Judge Bruce Schroeder

Problems started before the trial with the charges that the District Attorney’s office had brought against Rittenhouse.

Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden had called Rittenhouse a white supremacist in a tweet, asking why Donald Trump didn’t disavow such people.

That put huge pressure on Kenosha County District Attorney Graveley to come down hard on Rittenhouse, who was then 17.

He was charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree attempted intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

Despite being charged as an adult, he also was charged with possessing a weapon while under the age of 18.

Many court watchers felt the prosecution would have had more success if they had brought lesser charges against him.

Daniel Adams, a former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney who isn’t involved in the trial, described Binger’s case as ‘incredibly underwhelming.’

‘He’s got nothing,’ Adams said. ‘I just don’t understand it. What are we doing here? We’re all kind of scratching our heads.’

Problems grew right from Binger’s opening statement when he claimed that Rittenhouse had ‘chased Joseph Rosenbaum down’ and shot him.

But video footage showed that Rosenbaum — a convicted child molester who had been released from a mental health facility earlier in the day — had chased Rittenhouse and ambushed him.

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Binger, 51, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School is no rookie. He has been an assistant DA in Kenosha County since 2014, and first prosecuted cases in Milwaukee County back in 1999

He threw a plastic bag at the teen, cornering’ him between parked cars before Rittenhouse turned and shot as Rosenbaum, who was carrying a chain, lunged for the muzzle of his gun.

Binger was also embarrassed when he was questioning journalist Richard McGinnis who witnessed Rittenhouse shoot Rosenbaum.

‘You have no idea what Mr. Rosenbaum was thinking at any point of his life. You have never been inside his head. You never met him before,’ he said to McGinnis, adding ‘it’s complete guesswork, isn’t it?’

McGinnis shrugged and replied: ‘Well, he said, “F**k you” and reached for [Rittenhouse’s] weapon.’

There were also problems with the testimony of brothers Sahil and Anmol Khindri, who owned the car dealership that Rittenhouse said he was called to protect.

Sahil said he had not asked Rittenhouse to guard the lot while Anmol said he had not met him. But a photo appeared of the two brothers with Rittenhouse and others taken before the riots began.

‘When they put on the Khindri brothers knowing that they were lying, that is a problem,’ said Richards.

Binger was also widely ridiculed for pointing Rittenhouse’s weapon during the trial and for his many clashes with Judge Schroeder.

The most notable was when he tried to introduce testimony about Rittenhouse’s silence in the months between the shootings and the trial that the judge had explicitly ruled inadmissible in a pre-trial hearing.

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Judge Schroeder, defendant Rittenhouse and  lead defense lawyer Mark D. Richards look at a screen as attorneys for both sides argue about a video during the trial

‘Why would you think that that made it okay for you without any advance notice to bring this matter before the jury?” Schroeder shouted at Binger.

‘I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant’s post-arrest silence. That’s basic law. It’s been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.’

Schroeder also berated him for talking about Rosenbaum setting a fire.

‘All we’re talking about is arson. We’re talking about being loud and disorderly,’ Binger said.

Schroeder immediately cut him off. ‘I can’t believe some of what you’re saying,’ he said in a raised voice. ‘All we’re talking about is arson? Come on!’

Binger, 51, made it clear earlier this week that whatever the outcome of the case he would make no public comment.

Instead it was left to Graveley to issue a statement saying: ‘We respect the jury verdict based on three and a half days of careful deliberations. Certainly, issues regarding the privilege of self-defense remain highly contentious in our current times.

‘We ask that all members of the public accept the verdicts peacefully and not resort to violence.’

 

 

 

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Binger, 51, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School is no rookie. He has been an assistant DA in Kenosha County since 2014, and first prosecuted cases in Milwaukee County back in 1999

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Binger’s presentation of the case in Wisconsin has been marked with missteps and clashes with Judge Bruce Schroeder

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Mike Graveley, the Kenosha County DA, would normally have taken the case himself, but instead handed it down to prosecutor Thomas Binger. ‘It’s time to put DA Mike Graveley’s picture on a milk carton,’ wrote Milwaukee Right Now

After six years prosecuting, he went into private practice as director of litigation for a business law firm before joining the Kenosha County DA’s office.

He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the post of District Attorney in neighboring Racine County in 2016, saying: ‘In the last two years as a prosecutor, I have won 13 jury trials. I have convicted murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, drunk drivers, home-invading burglars and men who abuse women.’

One of the most notable cases he has previously prosecuted was of a former New Jersey fire captain who was jailed for five years in 2017 for possessing child pornography and exploiting a child for sexual purposes.

Binger insisted the sentence was not enough, telling Essex News Daily, ‘The state recommended 16 years.’

He was also forced to withdraw a case against Guy Smith, a trucker who was found with a gun in his cab. Smith’s defense attorney pointed out the law specifically allowed handguns in vehicles without a concealed carry permit, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The Smith case was also heard by Judge Schroeder.

But those cases had nothing like the media spotlight that has shone on the Rittenhouse case.

Binger’s role has been controversial since the start. He took the unusual step of objecting to the attempt by California attorney John Pierce to represent Rittenhouse, saying in a six-page motion to the court that Pierce’s presence could ‘materially prejudice’ the case.

He said Pierce’s ‘personal financial difficulties raise significant ethical concerns,’ adding: ‘Given his own substantial personal debts, his involvement with an unregulated and opaque ‘slush fund’ provides ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud

‘Money that should be held in trust for the defendant may instead be used to repay Attorney Pierce’s numerous creditors.’

Pierce, who claimed the case against Rittenhouse was a ‘political prosecution’ eventually withdrew, leaving the defense in the hands of lawyer Mark Richards.

Binger clashed with Schroeder in pre-trial hearings. Last month the judge ruled against him saying that the men shot by Rittenhouse could not be called ‘victims’ during the trial but allowed a defense motion which allows them to be called rioters, looters or arsonists.

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

, Thomas Binger isn’t only one to blame for bungling Rittenhouse case, The Today News USA

Court observers believe that even if Rittenhouse is found guilty, Binger’s performance has given him good grounds for appeal

Ass’t DA Thomas Binger locked horns with Judge from the get-go

Thomas Binger is a seven-year veteran at the law office run by Kenosha County’s top prosecutor, Michael Graveley. 

Graveley did not personally handling the high-profile Rittenhouse case because he was tasked with the investigation into the police shooting of Jacob Blake at the time Rittenhouse was charged. It was Blake’s shooting on August 23 that sparked the Kenosha riots. 

Binger and Judge Bruce Schroeder, who sits on Kenosha County Circuit Court, clashed frequently in the run-up to the trial, and the proceedings were as explosive as expected. 

Schroeder, who at 75 is the longest-serving active circuit judge in Wisconsin, has the reputation of being a stern judge who often hands down tough sentences. 

The website Wisconsin Right Now described his approach as ‘bizarre’, saying that he frequently made moves that seemed to help the defense in their argument that the teenager acted in self-defense – such as discussing the chaos engulfing Rittenhouse as he opened fire, showing videos of violent protest, and leading Rittenhouse to say that he wanted to help people. 

Binger graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996 and became a criminal prosecutor at the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office in 1999, where he eventually rose to the rank of assistant district attorney. 

He went on to work for the DeMark, Kolbe & Brodek law firm as director of litigation in 2005 before joining the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office in 2014. 

In 2016, Binger ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the district attorney’s seat in Racine County, telling the Journal Times: ‘In the last two years as a prosecutor, I have won 13 jury trials. I have convicted murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, drunk drivers, home-invading burglars and men who abuse women.’

He is married to Nicole Gustafson-Binger, a mental health counselor for Oakwood Clinical Associates. They have three children.  

In the lead up to the Rittenhouse murder trial, Binger lost the chance to link Rittenhouse to the Proud Boys extremist group. 

He was later strongly criticized by Judge Schroeder, in pre-trial hearings, after arguing that defense lawyers should not be able to tell jurors about Joseph Rosenbaum’s destructive actions during the riot, including setting a dumpster on fire. 

‘All we’re talking about is arson. We’re talking about being loud and disorderly,’ Binger said.

Schroeder cut him off and raised his voice.

‘I can’t believe some of what you’re saying,’ he said. ‘All we’re talking about is arson? Come on!’

Schroeder during the trial reprimanded Binger for bringing up information that had previously been barred from the court about Rittenhouse’s history with an AR-15 rifle. An incident was caught on video two weeks prior to the shootings in which Rittenhouse talked about shooting men he believed were shoplifting at a pharmacy.

Schroeder had already ruled video inadmissible. 

‘You’re an experienced trial attorney and you’re telling me when the judge says, ‘I’m excluding this’ you decide to bring it in because you think you’ve found a way around it,’ Schroeder asked. ‘Come on!’

Binger replied: ‘You can yell at me if you want. I was acting in good faith.’ 

Judge Schroeder responded: ‘I don’t believe you. When you say you were acting in good faith, I don’t believe you. There better not be another incident.’

Rittenhouse’s defense accused Binger of knowingly attempting to throw the proceeding because they were going badly for the state.

The defense on November 10 demanded a mistrial with prejudice, which would mean that Rittenhouse walks free and a retrial is not possible – a disaster for the prosecution. 

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