Jeanine Pirro interviewed the mother of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse last night to recast the guy charged with murdering two Black Lives Matter protesters as a young man who only went to Kenosha to clean up graffiti (with an assault weapon). But Rittenhouse’s mother gave up the game later in the interview.
Pirro introduced the interview by saying that a video, which I assume is the same one released by Rittenhouse’s “defamation attorney,” tells a story of “a young boy who tried to help people that night and was forced to defend himself.”
I can’t blame mother Wendy Rittenhouse for wanting to help her son. But Pirro, a former prosecutor, should have had at least some interest in getting at all the facts. Instead, her goal was clearly to help acquit Rittenhouse before trial.
Rittenhouse portrayed her 17 year-old son as “a typical young man, young boy” who “enjoyed helping people out” as a “police explorer,” “fire cadet,” and “lifeguard.” Pirro followed up with, “Tell us about his experience or training in as a medic.”
Rittenouse justified her son traveling across state lines from Illinois to Wisconsin, with an assault-style rifle that was illegal for him to be carrying in either state by saying, “He works in Kenosha” and “has family in Kenosha” and that he was in Kenosha that day to clean up graffiti.
Pirro bought it. She never questioned why the young man showed up with the weapon or why his mother either allowed him to have it or didn’t know about it. In fact, Pirro never mentioned the weapon at all.
“I knew that he was there [in Kenosha] to clean up the graffiti,” Wendy Rittenhouse said. “He wanted to help and that’s all he was there to do.”
However Pirro’s next line of questioning brought out an answer that suggested the Rittenhouse idea of “help” was not merely cleaning up graffiti. I don’t know whether Pirro couldn’t resist her inner prosecutor or her inner fact finder or if she thought Wendy Rittenhouse would have a good answer. But for whatever reason, it happened like this:
“Had he said anything about the riots, Wendy, that had gone on a few nights before?” Pirro asked.
That’s when Rittenhouse revealed a deep hostility toward the protesters:
RITTENHOUSE: No one should have been at the riots. It’s a horrible thing what happened and it’s just hard on everybody. No one should have been there. I mean, if they were gonna protest, they should have been at it peacefully.
PIRRO: Should Kyle have been there, Wendy?
Oops. Rittenhouse realized she had just boxed herself in. Her mouth opened and closed. Then her lawyer cut in to say, “I think like any mother, Judge, it is very, very tough for Wendy.”
The video cut away to a new question from Pirro, which changed the subject.
But not before we got a good look at Rittenhouse’s face. It strongly suggested she knew there was more than graffiti on Kyle's mind when he showed up at the demonstration.
Look, I have no idea whether Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. He deserves a fair trial and the presumption of innocence like any other defendant.
But I know a journalistic crime when I see one.
You can watch it below, from the October 10, 2020 Justice with Judge Jeanine. If that video should become unavailable, you can watch the full episode here. The interview takes place about three-quarters into the show.