Breaking: Judge dismisses gun charge against Kyle Rittenhouse
In Wisconsin, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a misdemeanor gun charge against Kyle Rittenhouse.
Experts had considered the count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 to be the likeliest charge to net a conviction for the prosecution, punishable by up to nine months in jail.
Ahead of closing arguments on Monday, Schroeder ruled that the state’s open-carry law is so confusingly written it can be interpreted to clear Rittenhouse. Prosecutors conceded that Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, so Schroeder dismissed the charge.
The 18-year-old defendant faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted on the most serious charge against him, first-degree intentional homicide. On Aug. 25, 2020, Kenosha was in the midst of chaotic protests that erupted after a police officer shot and wounded Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse said he traveled to Kenosha to protect property. While there, he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.
Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense, which has been corroborated by extensive video footage of the events and some of the prosecution’s own witnesses.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” Rittenhouse said during his testimony.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to allow the jury to consider several lesser charges if they acquit Rittenhouse on the original counts, which he agreed to on Monday.
After closing arguments, 12 of the 18 jurors will be randomly selected to deliberate, and the rest will be dismissed as alternates.
The case has polarized Americans, with the events becoming synonymous with arguments over racial injustice, vigilantism, and privilege. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said that 500 National Guard members would be prepared for duty in Kenosha if requested by local law enforcement.