Rittenhouse trial: Jury returns for 4th day of trial

Kyle Rittenhouse, in the middle, looks over to his lawyers as the jury is dismissed for the day during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Sean Krajacic / The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – The jury at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder case was due to return Friday for a fourth day of deliberation, after a quiet day behind closed doors that ended with a jury asking if she could take the jury’s instructions home.

Thursday’s court hearing was largely noteworthy for Judge Bruce Schroeder banning MSNBC from the courthouse after a freelancer was accused of following jurors in their bus.

Rittenhouse, 18, is accused of killing two men and wounding a third with a rifle during a turbulent night of protests that erupted in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 after a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white police officer.

Even when the jury weighed the evidence, two malpractice requests from the defense hung over the case, with the potential to overturn the verdict if the panel were to judge Rittenhouse. One of these requests asks the judge to go even further and prevent prosecutors from trying him again.

Schroeder banned MSNBC after police said they briefly detained a man who had followed the jury bus and may have tried to photograph jurors.

NBC News said in a statement that the man was a freelancer who received a quote for a traffic offense that took place near the jury vehicle and he “never photographed or intended to photograph them.”

Before the jurors retired around kl. 16 after what the judge said was their own wish, one of them asked if she could take the jury’s instructions home, and the judge said yes, but told her she could not talk to anyone about them. Prior to the hearings, the Schroeder jury read about 36 pages of instructions on the charges and the laws of self-defense.

After the jury’s resignation, Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards told the judge he feared it would lead to jurors looking things up in the dictionary or doing their own research.

Tom Grieve, a Milwaukee attorney and former prosecutor who is not involved in the case, called the move “definitely unusual in my experience.”

“The natural problem is that it will speed up armchair research and table discussion,” he said.

At the end of the day, jurors looked tired, but no more than they did at the end of their first day. No one seemed visibly upset. Two jurors spoke kindly to each other as they walked out the door.

Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old former police youth injured when he went to Kenosha in what he said was an attempt to protect property after rioters set fire to and searched businesses the previous nights.

He shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28. Rittenhouse is white, just like the ones he shot.

Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defense after being attacked, while prosecutors claimed he instigated the bloodshed.

The case has revealed deep disagreements among Americans over guns, racial injustice, vigilance and self-defense in the United States

To some civil rights activists, the shootings was an attack on the movement for racial justice, and some have complained about racial double standards in the way Rittenhouse was treated by law enforcement that night.

The defense has twice asked the judge to declare a lawsuit alleging that they received an inferior copy of a potentially crucial video and that the prosecution asked inappropriate questions to Rittenhouse during the cross-examination.

Schroeder has said the trial should be heard if there is a guilty verdict. If Rittenhouse is acquitted, the dispute will have no bearing. But if he is convicted and the judge then declares a trial, it will annul the verdict.

Rittenhouse can face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.

Associated Press writers Tammy Webber of Fenton, Michigan, and Todd Richmond of Madison contributed to this story.

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