KENOSHA, Wisc. — Day one of jury selection for the Kyle Rittenhouse trial started with a game of Jeopardy as Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder acted as host in an icebreaker of sorts for potential jurors on Monday.
Out of 150 potential jurors, the final juror number will be 20 for the actual trial. Potential jurors were excused for a variety of reasons, such as not living in Kenosha County anymore or in the case of one man, having a preplanned and prepaid trip to Poland this Friday.
Judge Schroeder said he was not attacking the media, but he noted there have been instances where stories were written about the Rittenhouse trial by people who knew nothing about the case.
"The price we pay for having a free press is a lot of irresponsible and sloppy journalism," he explained, adding some "reputable" news outlets have been sloppy in their reporting of the case while others have been "perfect" in their reporting.
The reason why Schroeder brought up the media's reporting about the shootings is because he wants the jurors who are picked for the trial to solely focus on the evidence presented and not what they have heard or read about the case beforehand. Schroeder also reminded potential jurors the right to a fair trial, like freedom of the press, is an important right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
"This is not a political trial," Schroeder insisted when a man said he could not be impartial because of comments he previously made on social media and due to his strong belief in the Second Amendment. After further questioning by Schroeder, the man said he was too biased and was excused from the jury pool.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked potential jurors if they were business owners whose properties were damaged by riots or if they knew victims of the property damage that occurred during the riots. They further asked if potential jurors took steps to protect themselves, such as boarding up windows, leaving town, or buying firearms. A few potential jurors said they had firearms for personal protection or had bought firearms in response to the riots.
Binger also asked, "Can we all agree that human life is more valuable than property? Is there anyone who disagrees with that statement? Seeing no hands, ok."
The defense team for Rittenhouse will make the case that he acted in self-defense by pointing to multiple videos and eyewitness statements from the night he was attacked by and subsequently shot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz.