When Will the Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict Be Announced?

The jury at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial will be allowed to review some of the video in the Kenosha shootings after their request on the second day of deliberations Wednesday triggered debate between the judge and opposing attorneys over how to accommodate the request.

The judge, meanwhile, expressed irritation over the media’s coverage and legal experts’ commentary on some of his decisions, saying he would “think long and hard” about allowing televised trials in the future.

Jurors were weighing charges against Rittenhouse for a second day after they failed to reach a swift verdict Tuesday on whether he was the instigator of a night of bloodshed in Kenosha or a concerned citizen who came under attack while trying to protect property.

About two hours into deliberations Wednesday, jurors asked to view video shown earlier in the trial and Judge Bruce Schroeder said he would determine the procedures to allow that.

After getting the jury’s request, the judge and the attorneys confronted a host of questions and, in some cases, sources of disagreement. Among them: Should the jurors watch the video in the courtroom or in the jury room? Who else can be present if it’s done in the courtroom? And how many times should they be allowed to rewind and watch a piece of footage?

Breaking down the Kyle Rittenhouse jury and why there was a lottery 

Prosecutor Thomas Binger said they should be able to view any video they wanted as many times as they wanted, and the judge seemed to agree.

“Sometimes there is one piece of evidence that is absolutely critical. … To me, if they want to watch it 100 times, that’s them,” Schroeder said.

But defense attorneys said they would object to the jury viewing video taken by a drone that prosecutors said showed Rittenhouse pointing his gun at protesters before the shootings. The image prompted heated dispute earlier in the trial over technical questions about whether enlarging images notably changes them.

Both sides agreed with loading the videos that jurors wanted to see onto a computer for them to view in the jury room. The judge — who said he was “queasy” about allowing the drone video — said jurors hadn’t asked to rewatch that video, but prosecutors said they did.

Earlier Wednesday, Schroeder took exception to news stories about his decisions to not allow the men Rittenhouse shot to be called victims and to allow Rittenhouse to play a minor role in determining which jurors were alternates and the fact that he had not yet ruled on a defense motion for a mistrial.

Schroeder said he hasn’t read the motion because he just received it on Tuesday.

“It’s just a shame that irresponsible statements are being made,” Schroeder said of comments in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story from law school professors about him not ruling on the mistrial motion.

The case went to the anonymous jury after Schroeder allowed Rittenhouse to reach into a raffle drum and draw numbered slips that determined which of the 18 jurors who sat through the case would deliberate and which ones would be dismissed as alternates.

That task is usually performed by a court clerk, not the defendant. Schroeder has said he has been having defendants do it for at least 20 years.

“I would admit that there are not a large number of courts that do that, maybe not any,” Schroeder said Wednesday.

The jury of 12 deliberated for a full day Tuesday without reaching a decision.

Rittenhouse, 18, faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge for using an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and wound a third during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. The former police youth cadet is white, as were those he shot.

Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense, while prosecutors argued that he provoked the violence. The case has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate over guns, racial-justice protests, vigilantism, and law and order.

The jury appeared to be overwhelmingly white. Prospective jurors were not asked to identify their race during the selection process, and the court did not provide a racial breakdown.

Though protests have been generally muted around the courthouse during the trial, on Wednesday a man arrived carrying a long rifle and wearing what appeared to be body armor. After being approached by police, he left and returned a short time later without the gun. The man had spent Tuesday shouting anti-Black Lives Matter statements through a megaphone and was involved in a confrontation that day with another protester.

Why did judge drop Rittenhouse gun charge? 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who faced criticism over his response to the Kenosha protests in 2020, urged calm as the jury deliberated. He announced last week that 500 members of the National Guard would stand ready for duty in Kenosha if needed.

Rittenhouse was 17 when he went to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, in what he said was an effort to protect property from rioters in the days after a Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white Kenosha police officer.

In a fast-moving series of clashes in the streets, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.

During closing arguments Monday, prosecutor Thomas Binger said that Rittenhouse was a “wannabe soldier” who set the deadly chain of events in motion by bringing a rifle to a protest and pointing it at protesters just before he was chased.

But Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards countered that Rittenhouse was ambushed by a “crazy person” — Rosenbaum.

Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum chased him down and made a grab for his rifle, causing him to fear the weapon was going to be used against him. His account of Rosenbaum’s behavior was largely corroborated by video and some of the prosecution’s own witnesses.

As for Huber, he was gunned down after he was seen on video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. And Grosskreutz admitted he had his own gun pointed at Rittenhouse when he was shot.

In his instructions to the jury, Schroeder said that to accept Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense, the jurors must find that he believed there was an unlawful threat to him and that the amount of force he used was reasonable and necessary.

Kyle Rittenhouse jury enters second day of deliberations

Jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial are starting their second day of deliberations on Wednesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The jurors spent all day Tuesday deliberating without returning a verdict, and informed the court they would return in the morning to continue reviewing the case.

Rittenhouse faces five felony charges in the August 2020 shootings that killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, during a chaotic night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, claims he acted in self-defense. He testified that he went to Kenosha, armed with an AR-15 style rifle, to help protect local businesses and provide first aid.  He took the stand last week in his own defense, and at one point broke into tears when his attorneys questioned him about why he fatally shot Rosenbaum. 

"I didn't do anything wrong, I was defending myself," Rittenhouse told the court.

But the prosecution has painted Rittenhouse as the aggressor and showed video from the scene in an effort to show that he provoked the violence. In this case, the burden of proof is on prosecutors to prove the shooting was not justified. 

The jury heard from more than 30 witnesses during two weeks of testimony.

Deliberations began Tuesday morning after the field of 18 jurors was narrowed down to 12. Rittenhouse himself picked six pieces of paper from a lottery tumbler that were used to identify the alternate jurors. A courtroom clerk is usually responsible for that task, not the defendant. Judge Bruce Schroeder said he has been having defendants do it for "I'm going to say 20 years, at least."

Seven women and five men were selected to be jurors, and they appeared to be mostly white.

Outside the Kenosha County courthouse, opposing groups of protesters for and against a guilty verdict have gathered, and 500 National Guard troops are standing by in case of possible unrest once a verdict is reached.

What are the charges?

Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, for the death of Joseph Rosenbaum.

Count 2: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon.

Count 3: First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, for the death of Anthony Huber.

Count 4: Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, for the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz.

Count 5: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon.

A sixth count, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, was dropped by the judge before both sides began their closing arguments.

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