State Watch

Judge dismisses misdemeanor gun charge against Rittenhouse

A Wisconsin judge on Monday dismissed a misdemeanor charge against Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager facing murder charges for fatally shooting two protesters during unrest over police brutality last year in Kenosha, Wis.

The charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor was dropped Monday morning as jurors were waiting to hear closing arguments in Rittenhouse’s trial.

Judge Bruce Schroeder said that it was unclear whether the rifle Rittenhouse used qualified under the Wisconsin statute, and the prosecutors in the case chose not to press their case on the single misdemeanor count.

Schroeder had earlier dismissed the defense’s effort to get the charge thrown out, but on Monday said that he believed the statute was poorly written and was open to challenging the count, which carries a maximum possible sentence of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

“I have big problems with this statute, I’ve made no bones about that from the beginning,” the judge said.

The dispute over Rittenhouse’s rifle centered on whether the length of the weapon qualified it as dangerous under the state law.

Rittenhouse is still facing multiple felony counts, including two counts of homicide. Jury deliberations could begin as early as Monday afternoon.

Updated at 11:20 a.m.

Tags rittenhouse trial Wisconsin

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