Prosecution's star witness in Kyle Rittenhouse case is a criminal

EXCLUSIVE: Prosecution’s star witness in Kyle Rittenhouse case is a career criminal with a history of domestic abuse, prowling, trespass and burglary – but had charges DROPPED just six days before trial began and jury never learned of his past

  • Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in August 2020, and appeared as the prosecution’s star witness last week  
  • DailyMail.com has learned Grosskreutz is a violent career criminal with a laundry list of prior offenses and convictions stretching back more than a decade 
  • These include domestic abuse, prowling, trespass, two DUIs, felony burglary and two charges of carrying a firearm while intoxicated 
  • Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was well aware of this when he paraded Grosskreutz as a paragon of selfless virtue in front of the jury 
  • Less than ten days before he was shot by Rittenhouse, Grosskreutz was arrested and charged with prowling when he was caught videotaping cops’ personal cars 
  • But the Rittenhouse jury heard none of this because just six days before he took the stand, Grosskreutz’s DUI charge was dismissed on a technicality  
  • Had Grosskreutz’s latest DUI charge not been dismissed, Rittenhouse’s defense would have been allowed to question him under oath about the offense 

The prosecution’s star witness in the Kyle Rittenhouse case had a criminal charge dismissed just six days before the trial’s start, meaning the jury had no insight into his extensive criminal record nor his history of lying to police, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was well aware of this when he paraded Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, the third man shot on the night of August 25, 2020, as a paragon of selfless virtue. He was a paramedic, the court heard, just there that evening to provide medical aid, as he claimed to have done at countless other protests across the country.

In fact, DailyMail.com has learned, he is a violent career criminal with a laundry list of prior offenses and convictions stretching back more than a decade.

These include domestic abuse, prowling, trespass, two DUIs, felony burglary and two charges of carrying a firearm while intoxicated – one of which took place when he was banned as a felon from carrying a firearm.

He also has a history of showing disdain for the law by lying to, and failing to co-operate with, police.

But the Rittenhouse jury heard none of this.

Because just six days before he took the stand, Grosskreutz was before a judge himself at a hearing at which a pending DUI charge – a second offense that saw him three times over the legal limit – was dismissed on a technicality.

Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in August 2020, and appeared as the prosecution’s star witness last week. He was the only one who survived being shot by Rittenhouse that night 

Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for the August 25, 2020 shooting deaths of two men and injuring Grosskreutz


Grosskreutz is seen in bodycam footage being pulled over on October 6, 2020 – less than two months after being shot by Kyle Rittenhouse

Police pulled Grosskreutz over on October 6, 2020, for failure to use a signal but under Wisconsin law if there is no other vehicle present a signal is not necessary. Sullen, monosyllabic and with barely concealed disdain, Grosskreutz resists police efforts to ‘work with him’

Bodycam footage of the night of Grosskreutz’s arrest, obtained by DailyMail.com, shows a very different person from the doe-eye man who sobbed on the witness stand as he told jurors that he feared for his life

Grosskreutz’s attorney successfully filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence on the basis that the traffic stop from which it had been obtained had been unlawful.

Police pulled Grosskreutz over on October 6, 2020, for failure to use a signal but under Wisconsin law if there is no other vehicle present a signal is not necessary.

Grosskreutz was the state’s star witness and  took the stand last week, giving tearful testimony 

Intriguingly Grosskreutz’s attorney told the judge that this was, ‘a unique case.’ She does not expand on her description of this.

In fact, there is nothing that appears in any way ‘unique’ about her client’s second DUI, save for the fact that the accused was slated to appear as the state’s star witness in Kenosha District Attorney Office’s most high-profile case to date.

Had Grosskreutz’s latest DUI charge not been dismissed in such a timely manner Rittenhouse’s defense would have been allowed to question him under oath about the fact that he was on bond and the nature of his offense.

The information would have severely damaged Grosskreutz’s credibility and eroded the wholesome image of a law-abiding citizen offered up by the prosecution.

Certainly, bodycam footage of the night of Grosskreutz’s arrest, obtained by DailyMail.com, shows a very different person from the doe-eye man who sobbed on the witness stand as he told jurors that he feared for his life.

Sullen, monosyllabic and with barely concealed disdain, Grosskreutz resists police efforts to ‘work with him.’

DailyMail.com can reveal that less than ten days before he was shot by Rittenhouse, on August 16, 2020, Grosskreutz was arrested by West Allis Police and charged with prowling when he was caught videotaping personal police officer vehicles in the police department parking lot at 1am

On May 9, 2015, Grosskreutz received his first DUI and second citation for carrying a loaded firearm while intoxicated

 

In 2012, Grosskreutz earned himself a felony burglary charge for burglarizing a property in New Berlin, 40 miles north of Kenosha. Officers said in the police report that they suspected Grosskreutz was not being truthful 

According to the police report he had, ‘red, glassy eyes and slurred speech’ and was smelling of alcohol. He refused to give his name or co-operate with field sobriety tests, asking for his attorney and telling the police that he ‘does not answer questions.’

Ultimately his lack of co-operation saw him arrested, taken into custody and having a blood test conducted under warrant.

DailyMail.com can also reveal that less than ten days before he was shot by Rittenhouse, on August 16, 2020, Grosskreutz was arrested by West Allis Police and charged with prowling when he was caught videotaping personal police officer vehicles in the police department parking lot at 1am.

The police report, seen by DailyMail.com notes that Grosskreutz could give no reason for his being there and that, ‘Gaige made clear his anti-law enforcement views.’

Last week the defense managed to extract the facts that Grosskreutz had refused to be re-interviewed by police about his shooting when approached in September 2020.

They also revealed that he had lied to police in his original statement by failing to mention that he was armed with a Glock 27 or that he was pointing it at Rittenhouse in the moment the teen shot him.

Grosskreutz has since gone on national television to backtrack on this testimony, given under oath.

In fact, Grosskreutz’s refusal to co-operate is a common theme across the myriad police reports accumulated by him and reviewed by DailyMail.com. In some it is noted that he encourages others to do likewise.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger was well aware Grosskreutz’s criminal past when he paraded him as a paragon of selfless virtue in front of the jury 

Gaige Grosskreutz is seen after being shot in the arm during the riots and protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020 

The court was shown images of the shooting that clearly showed Grosskreutz grimacing and screaming in agony while he cradled his right arm

Using a microphone as a prop for his Glock handgun, Grosskreutz shows the jury how he was holding the gun in his right hand when he was shot by Kyle Rittenhouse

On May 9, 2015, Grosskreutz received his first DUI and second citation for carrying a loaded firearm while intoxicated.

He was stopped in Greenfield, roughly 40 miles from Kenosha, and the police officer again observed that Grosskreutz’s eyes were, ‘bloodshot and glassy,’ and stated that he, ‘could detect an odor of intoxicants.’

Alarmingly the report notes, ‘Grosskreutz was eventually asked to exit the vehicle and before he did, he informed the officer that he had a firearm on his person and that it was openly carried. Grosskreutz said he was working on getting his CCW [Concealed Carry Weapon] permit.’

Police ‘recovered a 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun that was located near Grosskreutz’s right hip in a black leather holster on his belt…There was a 9mm round in the chamber of the weapon.’

Grosskreutz’s claim to be getting a CCW was a lie as, the police report continues, ‘It should also be noted that while putting this case folder together, I noticed GROSSKREUTZ’s criminal history states he is a felony offender and has a disqualification for firearms on it. He should also be charged for Felon in Possession of a Firearm.’

Grosskreutz has since had his felony charge expunged.

In court last week he admitted that carrying a gun was his common practice explaining it as a noble belief in the Second Amendment.

He testified, ‘I believe in the Second Amendment, I’m for people’s right to carry and bear arms and that night was no different from any other day. It’s keys, phone, wallet, gun.’

The jury heard nothing of his repeat firearms violations and the defense was not permitted to raise the fact that his Open Carry license had been suspended because of his criminal activity.

Nor did jurors hear that he has repeatedly been ordered by the courts to undergo compulsory programs for alcohol and substance abuse.

The earliest report seen by DailyMail.com dates to 2010 and involves an incident in which Grosskreutz struck his own grandmother in the face and smashed a lamp, damaging the dry wall against which he hurled it

In 2013 Grosskreutz was charged with smashing the bedroom window of an ex-girlfriend at 4am. According to the police report he had been harassing her by phone earlier in the evening.

After smashing the window, he texted her the threat, ‘I’m about to come back and it’s not going to be pretty so you better answer.’

Almost exactly one-year earlier Grosskreutz had earned himself a felony burglary charge for burglarizing a property in New Berlin, 40 miles north of Kenosha.

He was caught attempting to sell three stolen Play Stations and in the lengthy report police repeatedly note Grosskreutz’s lack of transparency and lying.

He was ultimately charged and convicted.

The earliest report seen by DailyMail.com dates to 2010 and involves an incident in which Grosskreutz struck his own grandmother in the face and smashed a lamp, damaging the dry wall against which he hurled it.

He also has a juvenile record which is sealed.

Ass’t DA Thomas Binger has 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 is 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 have been 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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