Kyle Rittenhouse trial – live: Kenosha braces for verdict as jurors to be narrowed down by tumbler draw
Watch live as closing arguments are made in Kyle Rittenhouse trial
The homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse resumed on Tuesday morning with the defendant picking the names of the 12 jurors who will decide his fate.
The pool of 18 jurors who heard two weeks of testimony was narrowed down to a dozen via a random lottery-style raffle.
Mr Rittenhouse, 18, is facing five felony charges for shooting three men during a night of protests and riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020. The most serious charges are first-degree homicide for the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
Both sides delivered closing arguments on Monday, in which the prosecution condemned Mr Rittenhouse for “bringing a gun to a fistfight”.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger began his closing argument by branding Mr Rittenhouse “the only killer” on the night in question and dismissed the self-defence argument, saying: “You cannot claim self-defence against a danger you create.”
In closing for the defence, attorney Mark Richards accused Mr Binger of “lying” and told the jury: “This case is not a game. This is my client’s life.”
The city of Kenosha is bracing for unrest in the wake of the verdict, with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers putting 500 National Guard troops on standby.
ICYMI: Judge tells jury to ‘disregard’ comments from Trump and Biden
Judge Schroeder ordered the jury to“disregard” the opinions of Joe Biden and Donald Trump in reaching their verdict following closing arguments on Monday.
Mr Schroeder told the jury that they alone have the power and duty to decide the case based solely on the evidence and insisted they ignore all other input from the media, social networking sites and politicians.
“You will pay no heed to the opinions of anyone, even the president of the United States, or the president before him,” he said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Mr Biden suggested in a tweet that Kyle Rittenhouse was a white supremacist.
Mr Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, told Fox News the president “defamed” her son to bolster his presidential campaign.
Mr Trump, meanwhile, voiced support for Mr Rittenhouse in the days after the shootings, saying: “I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed.”
Jury instructions put Rittenhouse judge back in spotlight
The judge in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial, already the subject of scrutiny for various actions in the case, drew attention again on Monday for his handling of jury instructions.
Judge Bruce Schroeder, who had been expected to file final instructions on Sunday, took arguments from attorneys until the last minute Monday as he edited the instructions on the bench. Then he sent the jury out midway through to talk with attorneys about making them clearer.
The last-minute activity focused on a crucial procedure — developing instructions about how jurors should determine whether Rittenhouse is guilty of each charge against him.
Kyle Rittenhouse trial: The most surreal moments from defendant’s sobs to judge’s ‘Asian food’ joke
As Kyle Rittenhouse stands trial for shooting three men – two fatally – at a protest last autumn, viewers have come to expect the unexpected after a series of dramatic scenes inside the courtroom in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Some of the most memorable moments have centred around Judge Bruce Schroeder, who made clear early on that he is not afraid to raise his voice or interrupt an attorney he perceives to be taking too long to get to the point.
Judge Schroeder has drawn attention away from the defendant on several occasions, including when he unleashed a vicious rebuke of the prosecution, questioned the reliability of Apple’s camera technology, flipped through a cookie catalogue during a break and made an off-colour joke about “Asian food”.
St Louis couple that aimed guns at BLM activists appear outside Kenosha courthouse to support Kyle Rittenhouse
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pleaded guilty to waiving their guns as a group of Black Lives Matter activists approached their home, appeared at Kenosha County Courthouse in support of Kyle Rittenhouse.
While closing arguments took place in the trial, the Missouri US Senate candidate and his wife were heckled by protesters outside the court as they defended Mr Rittenhouse as an example of cancel culture.
“I feel bad for anybody who gets destroyed in the press for doing no more than protecting themselves and their fellow citizens. There is a cancel culture in this country that destroys the ability to tell the truth, to be honestly portrayed in the press,” Mr McCloskey told reporters.