Ahead of closing arguments Monday in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed one count of illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. The charge is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to nine months in jail.

The weapon charge was considered one of the stronger counts against Rittenhouse, who faces five felony charges after he shot and killed two men and wounded another in August 2020 amid unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse's defense team had argued that state law could be interpreted to allow him to possess the AR-15-style rifle despite being 17 years old at the time he was in possession of it.

Schroeder explained to jurors that the dismissal of the charge was due to a poorly written Wisconsin law and that the longer barrel size of the firearm Rittenhouse carried the night of the shootings meant he did not violate the statute.

Prosecutors conceded that Rittenhouse’s firearm was not short-barreled.

Rittenhouse, who is now 18 years old, faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, one count of first-degree intentional homicide, and one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

If convicted, Rittenhouse faces life in prison.

Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty. He testified that he acted in self-defense.


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