Minutes after the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial found the teenager not guilty on all counts, Judge Bruce Schroeder took a moment to tell jurors any safety concerns they might have. would be “treated and respected”.
After four days of deliberation, a jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday of murder and reckless endangerment – charges stemming from the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and the injury to Gaige Grosskreutz in the “Black” riots. Lives Matter ”in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August.
After the verdict was read, Schroeder took a moment to address the jurors’ safety concerns.
“At the start of the trial, there were concerns about information and your safety, and I assure you that we will take all steps to ensure that your concerns are addressed and respected,” Schroeder told jurors, before asking to speak to them privately about it afterwards.
Schroeder reminded jurors that they have no obligation to speak to the media and that the press will submit contact requests in writing, which jurors could choose to ignore if they so choose.
“If someone contacts you, just tell them you’re not interested in discussing it, if you are. “ he explained. “If anyone persists in doing this, let us know and it will be dealt with.”
The Rittenhouse trial was a national spectacle, watched closely by the media, often to Schroeder’s chagrin. The judge on Thursday barred MSNBC reporters from entering the courtroom after a network producer was arrested following a bus carrying the jury. Schroeder described the incident as a “Extremely serious matter” it would be “Referred to the competent authorities”.
And just a day earlier, Schroeder called out media coverage of the trial – which saw experts attempt to analyze the judge’s biases by examining everything from offhand lunch jokes to his phone ringing – like “scary” and “Grossly irresponsible”. In addition to probing media coverage, Schroeder has reportedly received death threats throughout the trial.
As the jury deliberated, crowds of protesters had gathered outside the courthouse for days. Fighting broke out and chants – ranging from “f ** k Kyle!” To “Free Kyle!” “ – rang near the room where the jury decided the fate of Rittenhouse.
Thursday’s incident with the MSNBC producer was not the first time someone was suspected of attempting to compromise the anonymity of the jury. Earlier this month, police caught someone filming jurors as a bus picked them up on their way to the Kenosha County courthouse. The officers forced the person to delete the images.
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