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Kenosha County Eye

Kraus and Binger Lose Again: Jury Finds Rape Suspect Not Guilty After Year And A Half Behind Bars

Robert Thomas, 24 of Kenosha

A Special Birthday

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Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Robert Thomas’s 24th birthday was almost certainly different from all of his others. This birthday, he spent outside of the Kenosha County jail, smelling the cold fall air after a year and a half behind bars.

Kenosha ADA Jim Kraus (D)
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson)

Allegation and Charge

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Thomas was charged by Kenosha Prosecutor James Kraus (D) of an early-morning rape more than seven years ago, on October 2, 2014. According to court records, a woman, who was severely intoxicated, admitted to using hallucinogenics on the night of her alleged rape. She said that she left a Kenosha bar and was walking to another bar when she was approached by a black male. She said the next thing she remembered, she woke up with her pants down. She then pulled them up and hitched a ride to the Kenosha Police Department. The woman did not have much of a description of her alleged attacker. She was taken to the hospital for a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam). The swab contained DNA and it was sent to the Wisconsin crime lab. There were no matches. The case was cold. Just over 5 years later, a match was sent to KPD. It was a match to the defendant. He was convicted for disorderly conduct on 10/31/2019 and had to give his DNA to police. Police gave the woman a photo lineup with the defendant’s photo among others. She didn’t pick anyone out. Prosecutor James Kraus decided to charge Thomas anyway. That’s exactly what he did on March 20, 2020. Kraus charged Thomas with Second Degree Sexual Assault which carried a possible prison sentence of 40 years. Kraus had his wife Emily Trigg, notarize the sworn complaint, which is improper.

Kenosha ADA T. Clair Binger (D)
(Court TV non-copyrighted)

T. Clair Binger’s Trial

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We spoke to and heard from jurors about the trial. This gave us a lot of insight into the trial and the deliberations. The alleged victim and the defendant both took the stand. One female juror told us that defense attorney Brett Copeland was polite, non-judgemental, and fair, but seemed like a newer attorney. He has been practicing law for four years.. She told us that T. Clair Binger (D) was smart and well-researched. She did share some criticism with the KCE. She said the T. Clair could have done a much better job of focusing on the alleged victim and how the allegations affected her life in the last seven years. She said he relied too much on the DNA evidence and ignored other avenues to pursue. The defendant admitted to having sex with the woman, but said it was consensual. According to one of the jurors we spoke to, there just wasn’t enough evidence to support rape. “There were just too many holes in her story to convince us it wasn’t consensual”

Judge Jason Rossell
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson)

Theft and Third Degree Sexual Assault

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T. Clair made an unusual request. He asked Judge Rossell to allow an 11th hour charge of theft, saying there was evidence that Thomas stole the woman’s purse. The Judge denied his request. T. Clair also asked for a lesser-included charge of third degree sexual assault, which the judge allowed. As a former prosecutor, Rossell is seen as a judge by defense attorneys that typically sides with the prosecution.


About half of the jury recognized T. Clair Binger as the prosecutor that unsuccessfully prosecuted Kyle Rittenhouse. “Oh my God, he’s here again” one jurors said of Binger. The jury spoke briefly about the Rittenhouse case and deliberated for about 4 hours. They asked for a few exhibits and came to a unanimous verdict – NOT GUILTY.

We requested comment from T. Clair and have not heard back.

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  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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8 Responses

  1. Speaking of rape…After the last story on Smith Pumkin Farm and Michael Perrine (Registered Sex Offender against children) being associated with them they would have washed their hands of him as they said they would. Also said they didn’t know the extent of his assault.(were informed) Michael Perrine has been seen working a stand again at the Smith Pumkin Farm’s Christmas Lights On The Farm last week. Why would a business that caters to children allow this? Makes a lot of us speculate

  2. God some jurors are so stupid. What would how it affected her life over the last few years have any effect on whether it was consensual or not?

    This was always the biggest threat in the Rittenhouse case….stupid ass people on the jury.

    That being said, Binger and Kraus need to move on from the Kenosha County DA’s office. They don’t come across as likable to jurors anymore and they are always going to be “those guys”. Guilty people are going to walk because of this.

    1. I can think of one plausible reason…it might be to evaluate the believability of the witness. A blackout story is pretty hard to cross-examine/ask useful questions about, however, the effect on someone who knows they were raped vs one who knows they had consensual sex will be different…such that if the witness were lying, they would have to make something up, and a brave defense attorney may be able to point out some inconsistencies. A female juror in particular will want to evaluate not only the witness’s words, but the body language and whatever else feeds into their intuition.

  3. Eighteen months in prison, awaiting trial. Whatever happened to the “speedy and public trial” that the Sixth Amendment enumerates?

  4. God bless prosecutors like Binger and Krause. They are the Justice system’s best hope for fair and balanced justice for all.

    I’m totally messing with you.

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