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Rittenhouse judge slams ‘grossly irresponsible’ media coverage of trial as ‘really frightening’

Kyle Rittenhouse has been charged with fatally shooting two men and injuring a third during protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020. (Antioch Police Department/TNS)
November 18, 2021

The judge presiding over the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse slammed the media during proceedings on Wednesday, saying the “grossly irresponsible” coverage of the trial is “really quite frightening.”

“When I talked about problems with the media, when this trial started, we were there in part — not fully but in part — because of grossly irresponsible handling of what comes out of this trial,” Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder said.

“I will tell you this,” Judge Schroeder continued, “I’m going to think long and hard about live television at trial again next time. I don’t know. I’ve always been a firm believer in it because I believe the people should be able to see what’s going on, but when I see what’s being done, it’s really quite frightening. Frightening, that’s the right word for it.”

A compilation of media figures commenting on the trial circulated on Twitter, showing reporters, anchors, and guests referring to Rittenhouse as a “domestic terrorist,” “deeply racist,” and someone who “murdered two people.”

The video has amassed more than half a million views.

The judge also defended his choice to allow Rittenhouse to choose the jurors by randomly selecting them from a raffle drum, a practice the judge said he has used “almost universal[ly]” in cases he oversees.

“I never had a complaint about it before,” the judge remarked. “In fact, I never had a complaint about it here. But some people seem to be dissatisfied with that and people who want to undermine the result of the trial.”

“These are five very reputable [and] competent attorneys that I have practiced with for years and I think it’s shameful some of the things that are being done to these people [in the media],” Schroeder said.   

Additionally, Judge Schroeder explained his decision to block the use of the word “victim” when identifying those shot by Rittenhouse.

“How would you like to be put on trial for a crime, and the judge introduced the case to the jury by introducing you as the ‘defendant’ and the person who is accusing you as the ‘victim,’” the judge said. “And then throughout the trial, have all the references to the complaining witness as being the ‘victim.’ Is it so difficult to use the term ‘complaining witness’ instead of prejudging what the jury is here to determine, as to whether there’s a victim and whether there was a crime committed?”