The judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial said on Friday he would allow some lesser charges to be considered by the jury in addition to Rittenhouse’s original charges.
Prosecutors and Rittenhouse’s defense team met in court with Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder.
The jury was not present for Friday’s proceedings where jury instructions were discussed.
Rittenhouse, 18, who formerly resided in Antioch, is facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
Prosecutors asked Schroeder to allow the jury to consider a second-degree reckless homicide charge, but the judge said he would likely not allow it over the risk that it could be overturned on appeal.
Schroeder said he is inclined to allow a lesser charge of second-degree reckless endangerment to be considered by the jury but has not officially decided.
Prosecutors asked the court to allow lesser counts of second-degree attempted intentional homicide, second-degree reckless endangerment and first-degree reckless endangerment.
Rittenhouse attorney Corey Chirafisi objected to the second-degree reckless endangerment and first-degree reckless endangerment charges, arguing that he does not believe someone can “attempt to be reckless.”
Schroeder said he would think about those charges and was inclined to side with the prosecution. He said that he would finalize his rulings on the jury instructions by Saturday.
Prosecutors also said during the Friday hearing that drone video showed Rittenhouse raising his rifle and pointing it at people shortly before shooting Joseph Rosenbaum.
After reviewing the video, Schroeder said he would submit the case to the jury with the provocation instruction, which will allow the jury to consider if Rittenhouse provoked the attack.
Wisconsin state law states that someone who provokes a confrontation and claims self-defense is required to exhaust every reasonable means to escape from their assailant.
Schroeder explained to Rittenhouse how lesser charges could affect his case.
“You’re raising the risk of conviction, although you are avoiding the possibility that the jury will end up compromising on the more serious crime. And you’re also decreasing the risk that you’ll end up with a second trial because the jury is unable to agree,” Schroeder said.
Mark Richards, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, told Schroeder that Rittenhouse was in therapy as a result of the shootings and has been diagnosed with PTSD.
Rittenhouse’s defense rested their side of the case Thursday afternoon and Schroeder declared the evidence closed in the trial.
Both sides will give their closing arguments beginning on Monday and then jury deliberations will start.