Jurors are expected to begin deliberations in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse sometime Monday, but they’ll have to wade through more than five hours of closing statements, 36 pages of jury instructions, and an announcement by the judge as to what charges remain.
Before the jury was brought in, Judge Bruce Schroeder dropped the minor in possession of a gun charge against Rittenhouse. Neither the gun size nor Rittenhouse’s age complied with the confusing language of the law. None of the lawyers in the courtroom could discern what the law meant in relation to this case, so a jury of laypersons wouldn’t be able to do it.
This ruling means that, indeed, Rittenhouse possessed the gun legally the night of the shootings on Aug. 25, 2020.
The curfew charge against the then-17-year-old was previously dropped.
Jurors have been off since Thursday, and on Friday, there were arguments about final jury instructions and the additional lesser and included charges against Rittenhouse. The lesser and included charges were requested by the prosecution, which wants to provide jurors, who are so inclined, to find some charge to pin on the 18-year-old shooter.
A motion for a mistrial was filed with the judge on the ample outrageous antics by the prosecutor during the trial, which included two Fifth Amendment violations and a surprise piece of “evidence” — a fuzzy picture and the video it came from — that wasn’t properly vetted. There were other contretemps as well. No ruling has been issued at this point.
The two-week-long case has become a lightning rod for both the organized Left and right-leaning gun rights activists.
Jury intimidation, which included a person taking video of jurors, and overt threats against the judge have racked up. Leftist Twitter has spun tales of the judge being some sort of white supremacist, and death threats followed.
The Daily Mail characterized the threats as “vile.”
One addressed to ‘Your Honor’ reads, ‘I didn’t know that under your black robes of justice you wear a white robe of the klan. There is no way a fair trial can be heard under your supervision. Better yet, resign.’
Among the most disturbing messages to the judge was one that threatens the lives of the judge’s children, promises ‘pay back,’ and states that Rittenhouse ‘won’t live long’ if acquitted.
The email, much of which is too offensive to reproduce, states the hope that one day Judge Schroeder’s ‘kids become victims to the most heinous homicide known to man so he feels the pain an [sic]we will call his kids not victims but b******s.’
The judge has been criticized for everything from the “God Bless the U.S.A.” ringtone of his cellphone to his American flag tissue box.
Another potentially huge decision was made about the fuzzy photo and the video from which it came. The photo was never thoroughly vetted and, in fact, the judge mentioned that prosecutors used “junk science” to verify it. That, obviously, will be mentioned in closing statements during the day.
The photo is the lynchpin for the prosecution’s novel theory that the photo shows Rittenhouse was the one who provoked the shooting and therefore may not use self-defense.