The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse—who shot and killed two men and injured a third last summer during protests over police shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin—left many observers slack-jawed this week after the accused broke down on the witness stand.
The moment struck many as staged and fake.
Count NBA All-Star LeBron James among those who aren't buying Rittenhouse's outburst.
James tweeted about Rittenhouse's breakdown yesterday, not only accusing him of faking it but giving his detractors a moment of levity to go along with it.
See the tweet below.
Quote-tweeting a now infamous video of Rittenhouse overcome with sobs--or at least trying to look like he was--James wrote:
"What tears????? I didn't see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court. 🤣🤣"
From practically the moment it began, Rittenhouse's trial has struck many as a farce.
Rittenhouse faces seven charges for his actions at the Kenosha protests, where he killed two unarmed protestors, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injured a third, Gaige Grosskreutz, with an illegally obtained AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle.
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty, claiming his murders were committed in self-defense while acting as part of militia groups, which are illegal. On the stand, he described a harrowing scene in which he was cornered and feared for his life, breaking down so intensely that the judge called a 10-minute recess for him to compose himself.
But as scores of people noticed, Rittenhouse appeared not to have mustered more than a single tear while appearing to sob so hard he was unable to speak or breathe, leading many to feel he was faking it. The circumstances of the case don't exactly back up Rittenhouse's take on the night, either.
Video clips and photos from after the shootings show Rittenhouse jubilant and at times bragging about his killings while flashing white nationalist hand signals. And videos from the scene showed police thanking Rittenhouse and other members of militia groups, which a lawsuit filed by Grosskreutz claims were "deputized" by the Kenosha Police Department that night.
Trial Judge Bruce Schroeder has also aroused suspicion of bias towards Rittenhouse after banning the word "victim" when referring to the people Rittenhouse killed, shouting down prosecutors on multiple occasions and making absurd claims about the inadmissibility of some video evidence.
In short, the trial has struck many as nothing short of a circus, with Rittenhouse's performance on the stand the attraction in the center ring.
So unsurprisingly, James' mocking tweet about Rittenhouse rang true for many on Twitter and left them applauding--especially after the right-wing, which has lionized Rittenhouse as a hero, took offense to it.
It remains to be seen how Rittenhouse's performance on the stand resonated with the jury. Closing arguments in the trial are set to begin on Monday.