Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pleaded guilty to waiving their guns as a group of Black Lives Matter activists approached their home, appeared at Kenosha County Courthouse in support of Kyle Rittenhouse.
While closing arguments took place in the trial, the Missouri US Senate candidate and his wife were heckled by protesters outside the court as they defended Mr Rittenhouse as an example of cancel culture.
“I feel bad for anybody who gets destroyed in the press for doing no more than protecting themselves and their fellow citizens. There is a cancel culture in this country that destroys the ability to tell the truth, to be honestly portrayed in the press,” Mr McCloskey told reporters.
“That’s why we’re up here, to show that there is a right to defend yourself, there is truth, there is reality, and despite what the mainstream media says, despite what the president of the United States may say, the jury in this trial heard the facts, and we’re hoping that they find Kyle Rittenhouse innocent of all counts.”
As the court heard from the closing arguments, judge Bruce Schroeder came under fire for confusing his own jury instructions.
Schroder took an extended pause in the middle of delivering the jury instructions while discussing elements of self-defence.
“I got myself into a mid-sentence, I don’t like it,” he said before calling attorneys to the bench and turning off the microphone.
“I’ve worked with the instructions all weekend and we discussed them by email and then I’m reading them and little things are striking me as I read them,” he added after the jurors and left the room.
The delay led to further scrutiny of the judge from observers who have disagreed with his rulings.
The University of Alabama School of Law professor and MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Alene said it could give help the defence overturn any conviction.
“The Judge in the Rittenhouse trial is gumming up his delivery of the jury instructions to the point where I’m concerned he’s given the defendant an excellent argument on appeal if he’s convicted,” she said in a tweet.
The Judge in the Rittenhouse trial is gumming up his delivery of the jury instructions to the point where I’m concerned he’s given the defendant an excellent argument on appeal if he’s convicted.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 15, 2021
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said, “what’s going on in the court is appalling”.
“The judge doesn’t even understand his own jury instructions? How can he expect the jury to make sense of them?” he said in a tweet.
Throughout the trial, Mr Schroeder has sometimes found himself the subject of more media attention than much of the evidence.
He scolded prosecutors for crossing the line beyond legal limits, led the court in a Veteran’s Day round of applause for a defence witness, and made a poorly-received joke about the supply chain crisis delaying the court’s lunch of Asian food.
It was lampooned as offensive at best and racist at worst.
Mr Schroeder referenced the controversies when discussing the schedule for the day’s closing arguments.
“I’m not going to comment on lunch.”