Judge will ask jury to consider if Rittenhouse provoked attack: report

The judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial will ask the jury to consider whether the teenage defendant provoked the deadly encounter he's on trial for and consider lesser charges than first degree murder, The Washington Post reported.

Those instructions from Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder, which he discussed with attorneys in the case on Friday, are seen as favorable to the prosecution. 

Rittenhouse, 18, is facing six counts, including first-degree intentional homicide and a misdemeanor unlawful firearms charge, for killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who was 26 at the time of the incident. 

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Schroeder will also let the jury consider two lesser charges against Rittenhouse over Huber’s death. 

On Aug. 25, 2020, Rittenhouse carried an assault rifle on the streets of Kenosha, Wis., after traveling from his home in Antioch, Ill. 

Rittenhouse testified during the trial he was at Kenosha to protect property and offer first aid for those injured in protests sparked by the police shooting of Black Kenosha resident Jacob Blake, the Post reported. 

Rittenhouse, who was 17 years old when the incident happened, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, arguing that he was acting in self-defense. 

Legal experts told the Post that Rittenhouse's self-defense claims could be tarnished if the jury agrees evidence shows the teenager being the aggressor toward Rosenbaum. 

“The existence of a provocation during an instruction is really going to lead the prosecution to hit that narrative hard,” Milwaukee-based criminal defense attorney Tom Grieve told the Post. 

If convicted, Rittenhouse faces up to life in prison for the most serious homicide charge.

Closing arguments in the trial begin Monday.