Jurors resumed their deliberations in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the man accused of shooting three people, killing two of them, during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
He had been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, for the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and the injuring of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.
Update 6:20 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Former president Donald Trump congratulated Rittenhouse on Friday after a jury found him not guilty on charges connected to last year’s deadly during protests in Kenosha.
“If that’s not self defense, nothing is!” Trump said in a statement.
Update 5:35 p.m. EST Nov. 19: In statements obtained by CNN, Huber’s girlfriend and Rosenbaum’s fiancee reacted Friday to the not guilty verdicts handed down to Rittenhouse earlier in the day.
“I don’t think that any of us who were directly involved in what happened last year on the 25th are really that surprised. We know that this system is a failure,” said Hannah Gittings, who was dating Huber at the time of his death. “Personally, I am especially not surprised at the outcome of this verdict.”
Rosenbaum’s fiancee, Kariann Swart, told reporters that in the Rittenhouse case, “it feels like the victims’ lives don’t matter.”
“If one person’s life or two persons’ lives don’t matter, then none of our lives matter,” she said, according to CNN.
Update 5:30 p.m. EST Nov. 19: President Joe Biden told reporters Friday that he stands “by what the jury has concluded” after they found Rittenhouse not guilty of charges related to the deadly 2020 shooting in Kenosha.
“The jury system works, and we have to abide by it,” he said.
While running for president in 2020, Biden posted a video on Twitter that included an image of Rittenhouse carrying an AR-15 and footage of then-President Donald Trump refusing to condemn white supremacists and armed groups, The Washington Post reported.
Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters that “the verdict really speaks for itself.”
“As many of you know, I’ve spent a majority of my career working to make the criminal justice system more equitable,” she said “And, clearly, there’s a lot more work to do.”
Update 4:23 p.m. EST Nov. 19: A Rittenhouse family spokesperson told CBS News that the family is “just ecstatic” after hearing the verdicts handed down Friday by a jury in his trial for the deadly shootings in Kenosha last year.
David Hancock said the family was gathered in an “undisclosed location” after the verdict, which the family expected, was read.
“I say that was expected because we know who Kyle is and we know what was in his heard and what was in his head, and we know the facts of this case,” Hancock said. “But of course, everybody was really anxious because at the end of the day, you just -- you ultimately don’t know what a jury is thinking and there’s been a lot of things being said.
Update 3:57 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz and the estate of Joseph Rosenbaum have released a statement in response to Friday’s verdict, CNN reported.
“Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum did not deserve to die that night. For now, we ask for peace from everyone hurting and that the public respect the privacy of the victims and their families. That night in Kenosha, Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber, and many others acted heroically. They did not seek violence, but to end violence. What we need right now is justice, not more violence. While today’s verdict may mean justice delayed, it will not mean justice denied. We are committed to uncovering the truth of that night and holding those responsible to account.”
Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards said that Judge Bruce Schroeder presided over a fair trial, in a post-verdict appearance.
“Judge Schroeder gives you a fair trial as a defendant,” he said. “You don’t want him to sentence your client. But in this case, we were looking for a fair trial and if we lost we knew what was going to happen... so I would rather have a fair trial.”
Meanwhile, the White House has released a statement from the president saying, “I know that we’re not going to heal our country’s wounds overnight, but I remain steadfast in my commitment to do everything in my power to ensure that every American is treated equally, with fairness and dignity, under the law,”
Update 2:06 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Defense attorney Mark Richards said of Rittenhouse, “He’s relieved, and he looks forward to getting on with his life. And having a jury of 12 people find him not guilty meant the world to him, in practical and symbolic ways.”
Rittenhouse has left the courthouse and is returning to Walworth County, Wisconsin, The New York Times reported.
The family of Anthony Huber, one of the two men killed by Rittenhouse, said through their lawyers, that they are heartbroken. and that the verdict “sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street,” the Times reported.
Update 1:37 p.m. EST Nov. 19: CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said that with the not guilty verdict, the case against Rittenhouse is over.
“The prosecution cannot appeal. A not guilty verdict is final. So this will be the end of the state prosecution of Kyle Rittenhouse,” Honig said shortly after the verdict.
Justin Blake said, “We’re going to continue to fight and we’re going to continue to be peaceful. Let freedom ring.”
Update 1:26 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The White House declined to speak immediately about the verdict, with press secretary Jen Psaki saying only “Let me talk to the President and talk to our team and we will get to a statement as soon as we can,” CNN reported.
Update 1:14 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all counts.
When the verdict was read, Rittenhouse collapsed and then was held by his lawyers.
All charges have been dismissed and he has been released from the condition of his bond, the judge instructed.
It took the jury about 26 hours to come to a decision, The New York Times reported.
The assistant district attorney and lead prosecutor in the case said after the verdict was handed down, “The jury has represented our community in this trial and has spoken.”
The judge had said he “couldn’t have asked for a better jury.”
Update 1:12 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The jury has returned to the courtroom.
Update 1:10 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The judge has instructed the gallery to not have any reaction to the verdict, warning them that they would be “whisked out” of the courtroom by law enforcement if there was.
Update 1:04 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The judge has confirmed that the jury has reached a verdict.
Update 12:55 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The New York Times reported that the jury has a decision, according to two people familiar with the trial.
The newspaper reported that relatives of the people who were killed have also entered the courtroom. It was the first time in several days.
Update 11:45 a.m. EST Nov. 19: The jury resumed deliberations around 10 a.m. EST, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Original report: The jury started deliberating Tuesday and is entering its fourth day of deciding Rittenhouse’s fate.
He faces first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, for the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26. He is also accused of shooting Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.
Central to the case is whether Rittenhouse, then 17, acted in self-defense. Prosecutors sought to portray him as a vigilante who came to Kenosha from outside the community and provoked violence that night. Defense attorneys argued that he did what he had to in order to protect himself during a chaotic night of riots.
On Wednesday, jurors reviewed some video evidence shown during the trial, including a recording taken by Grosskreutz after Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum and video of the shooting filmed by a drone.
The latter footage prompted a mistrial request by defense attorneys, who said Wednesday that they were given a lower quality version of the file than the one that was shown in court. The higher quality video had been played on Fox News days after the shootings during an interview with Rittenhouse’s original attorney, though neither prosecutors nor Rittenhouse’s current attorneys were able to track down the video until after his trial began.
Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney James Kraus said prosecutors obtained the video during the trial, after a person who refused to give their name came forward with it. He acknowledged Wednesday that the video file became compressed when it was transferred to defense attorneys, although he insisted the difference was caused by technology issues and was not intentional.
Natalie Wilsco, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, said the file defense attorneys received was four megabytes in size, while the one that prosecutors had was 11 megabytes.
Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said attorneys “would have done this case in a little bit (of a) different manner” if they had access to the higher quality drone video, saying in court that they weren’t able to address the evidence properly because the issue with the video quality wasn’t discovered until after both sides had closed their arguments.
Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request.
Rittenhouse could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him. He testified last week that he acted in self-defense after being chased by Rosenbaum and attacked by Huber. He said he shot Grosskreutz after the older man lunged at him with a pistol pointed at his head.
The August 2020 shooting exposed bitter divisions nationwide over guns, protests and policing, The Associated Press reported. It happened amid protests nationwide over police violence and racism following the May 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Last week, Gov. Tony Evers activated 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops to assist authorities in Kenosha ahead of an expected verdict in the case.
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