500 Wisconsin National Guard on standby as Rittenhouse trial nears end

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Wisconsin’s governor on Friday put 500 National Guard members on standby as the high-profile homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse nears its end.

Closing arguments are expected Monday in the trial.

Rittenhouse, 18, fatally shot two men and wounded a third during protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last year.

He is charged with intentional homicide, reckless homicide, attempted intentional homicide, and other charges in the Aug. 25, 2020, shooting.

Image: Kyle Rittenhouse trial continues at the Kenosha County Courthouse (Sean Krajacic / Pool via Reuters)
Image: Kyle Rittenhouse trial continues at the Kenosha County Courthouse (Sean Krajacic / Pool via Reuters)

The Wisconsin National Guard will stage outside Kenosha, available should they be requested by law enforcement, Gov. Tony Evers said.

“I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully,” Evers said in a statement.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, went to Kenosha armed with a semi-automatic rifle. He has said he was there to protect businesses following unrest in the city.

He testified he fired in self-defense after he was attacked. Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, were killed in the shooting, and Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, was injured.

Prosecutors argued that Rittenhouse was unjustified in using deadly force.

The prosecution said Rittenhouse, who lives in Antioch, Illinois, about 20 miles away from Kenosha, was among those who were “drawn to the chaos” in the Wisconsin city and who added to the chaos there.

The protests were in reaction to the police shooting of Blake, a Black man, by a white officer on Aug. 23, 2020. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down.

After closing arguments, the jury will begin deliberations.

Rittenhouse faces life in prison if convicted on the first-degree intentional homicide charge, and up to 60 years on each of the other homicide-related charges. He is also charged with two reckless endangerment counts, which carry up to 12 years each, and a misdemeanor weapons charge that carries a potential nine-month sentence.

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