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Defense calls Rittenhouse to the stand at his murder trial

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James Armstrong, of the state crime lab, points to drone video he digitally enlarged during Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The defense as called Kyle Rittenhouse to the stand at his trial on charges of killing two men and wounding a third during a night of turbulent protests in Kenosha.

The former police youth cadet was 17 when he went to Kenosha during the summer of 2020 with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to safeguard property from the damaging protests that broke out over the wounding of a Black man by a white Kenosha police officer.

Prosecutors used 5½ days of testimony to try to portray Rittenhouse as the aggressor on the night of the shootings. But the prosecution’s witnesses often bolstered the young man’s claim of self-defense.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers have suggested he was afraid his gun was going to be taken away and used against him. Also, one of the men he shot hit him in the head or neck with a skateboard, and another came at Rittenhouse with a gun of his own.

Rittenhouse’s decision to testify comes despite several legal experts saying that an underwhelming prosecution case had made it less likely he would need to do so.

Rittenhouse, now 18, could get life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.

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