Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Case nearly in hands of jury
KENOSHA, Wis. - The Kyle Rittenhouse case will soon be in the hands of the jury.
Twenty jurors have been impaneled for this case; 18 remain, and 12 will ultimately decide it.
Prosecutors have the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Rittenhouse committed the crimes he's been charged with. How the jury reaches its verdict depends on the instructions given by the judge and interpretation of the evidence in what has been a very complex case.
"It would be ideal if we could finish on Friday, but let’s see what happens," said Judge Bruce Schroeder.
With the case coming to a close, prosecutors and the defense will make closing arguments for their cases: A kid in over his head, armed with a weapon he couldn't legally possess killed two people, or this was or a situation of self-defense. Rittenhouse testified Joseph Rosenbaum twice threatened to kill him, Anthony Huber hit him with a skateboard and Gaige Grosskreutz pointed a weapon at him. The incidents were captured on a number of videos from different angles.
"Everyone had access to the videos, so this is about interpretation of the videos," said Ion Meyn, UW School of Law professor.
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Meyn said the trial and closing arguments are about tying together a narrative of events. While the state has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Rittenhouse committed the crimes he's been charged with, the defense can't just poke holes in the case.
"You have to actually construct a different narrative that can be accepted by the jury," said Meyn.
After the length of the trial so far and the amount of evidence presented before the 18 remaining jurors, those jurors will be given instructions on possible verdicts and jury instructions on the law, which Meyn says could prove crucial in determining the outcome of the case.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder
Prosecutors asked Judge Schroeder to consider lesser charges on certain counts, which the judge will have to rule on before instructing the jury that those are an option.
Eighteen jurors remain after one was dismissed for a joke about the Jacob Blake shooting and another for a medical reason. No one will know who will ultimately be the 12 selected, as they will be chosen at random before heading to deliberations, expected to take at least two days. If no verdict is returned, the judge could declare a mistrial.