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RITTENHOUSE TRIAL

Did Car Source ask for armed help during Kenosha unrest? Witness testimony differs

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CAR SOURCE

Car Source, at the corner of Sheridan Road and 58th Street in Kenosha, was severely damaged by rioting in August 2020.

The sons of the owner of Car Source say nobody asked armed people to guard their properties while under oath in court during the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse last week. Then on Tuesday, one of Car Source’s former employees said the opposite, also while under oath in the trial.

Rittenhouse was among a number of armed men, and at least one woman, who attested they were asked to protect Car Source the night of Aug. 25, 2020. By the end of the night, Rittenhouse had shot and killed two men — Joseph Rosenbaum in the parking lot of a Car Source and Anthony Huber moments later on Sheridan Road — and shot and injured a third.

Rittenhouse is facing life in prison for the killings and several other felonies related to the shootings. The trial is ongoing, but it could be over by the end of the week.

What we know happened: Armed people — as well as Rittenhouse, who was then 17 years old — were seen standing around and on the roof of three Car Source used car dealership locations in Downtown Kenosha.

What Car Source says: After the shootings, the sons of the owner of Car Source told multiple media outlets they never asked for armed help. The sons are Sahil “Sal Khindri” Khindri and Anmol “Sam Khindri” Khindri. They said their father speaks little English.

On the stand Friday, both Sal Khindri and Sam Khindri said they never asked anyone for armed help.

Prosecution showed a screenshot of a text allegedly sent to one of the brothers from someone who identified themselves as “Kyle” who offered armed help to protect the businesses. Sam Khindri said he never even saw the text until Aug. 26, hours after the Rittenhouse shootings.

Another photo depicting Sal Khindri posing with the armed group — including Rittenhouse and former Car Source employee Nicholas Smith — at one of the Car Source locations was shown in court. Sal Khindri said on the stand that he was intrigued by the men, had never seen anyone like them before except “on TV,” and asked for the picture. He said he didn’t know the group ostensibly planned to stay on Car Source property.

What armed group and Rittenhouse’s defenders say: Since Aug. 25, 2020, Rittenhouse and others who were armed in Kenosha — including Smith; Dominick Black, who provided Rittenhouse’s gun; Rittenhouse’s defense team; Marine Jason Lackowski; JoAnn Fiedler and Army veteran Ryan Balch — attested the armed people were explicitly asked by the owners of Car Source to protect their property after the 5821 Sheridan Road location was burned down.

Sam Khindri, who described himself as a property manager for Car Source, said under questioning from defense attorney Corey Chirafisi that he could not say how much property was lost in the arson and vandalism.

However, Chirafisi brought up a well-circulated news report that stated Sam Khindri had said the business had suffered $2.5 million in damages and the business’s insurer had rejected the claim.

“They don’t cover the riots. This is domestic terrorism, don’t cover it,” Sam Khindri was quoted as saying to WKOW last year. “I’m screwed. I’m bankrupt.”

On the stand, Sam Khindri said he could not confirm the report, that he did not know how much was lost and that the business was insured. Last year, Sam Khindri had also said he was a co-owner of Car Source, but on the stand said he was only an employee.

Chirafisi appeared increasingly frustrated as Sam Khindri failed to give direct answers to the defense after being more straightforward with the prosecution.

Sam Khindri noted that there were multiple inaccurate reports following the violence, including that he had killed himself.

On Tuesday, Smith, the former Car Source employee, took the stand. He said that the owners of Car Source had asked him and others to defend Car Source, in line with what had been said by Black on the stand the week prior and what has been said by Rittenhouse’s representatives since Aug. 25.

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