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Kyle Rittenhouse Trial: Juror Dismissed Over Issue With Her Pregnancy

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the second day in a row, a member of the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has been dismissed, this time for medical reasons.

A young woman on the jury asked to be excused because she is pregnant and has been feeling discomfort. The judge agreed to dismiss her.

Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three people, killing two, during protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. His attorneys have said he was acting in self-defense.

The pregnant juror's dismissal comes one day after the judge removed another juror who told a joke about a police officer shooting Blake.

"It was my understanding it was something along the lines of, 'Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake seven times?'" said Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger. "It's my understanding that the rest of the joke is: 'Because they ran out of bullets.'"

Rittenhouse, who is white, is accused of traveling to Kenosha after learning of a call to protect businesses after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police seven times in the back on Aug. 23, 2020 and left paralyzed.

In the first couple of nights after police shot Blake, there was large-scale unrest in Kenosha during which several buildings were set on fire.

Prosecutors accuse Rittenhouse of patrolling downtown Kenosha with an assault-style rifle on the third night of the unrest. Rittenhouse opened fire with that rifle during the protests, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.

Binger told the judge in Rittenhouse's trial that the juror's joke about Blake's shooting was in poor taste, and showed racial bias.

Judge Bruce Schroeder questioned that juror, asking him to repeat the joke, but he refused.

The juror, a middle-aged man who sat at the edge of the judge's bench in a scooter he uses to get around, appeared ill-at-ease while the judge questioned him about the joke.

"It had nothing to do with the case," he said.

However, Schroeder said it was important to maintain public confidence in the case, and he had no choice but to remove the juror.

With the removal of two jurors, there is now an 18-person jury hearing the case, with 12 primary jurors and six alternates.

Meantime, testimony resumed on Friday with Marine veteran Jason Lackowski, who said he also was in Kenosha on the night of the shootings to protect businesses during the protests and civil unrest in the wake of Blake's shooting.

Lackowski told jurors he did not believe shooting victim Joseph Rosenbaum was a threat.

"He did a few, what I would call 'false stepping,' which is making a step to entice somebody to do something. He had done that a few times. After he had done that a few times, I turned my back to him and ignored him,"

Lackowski demonstrated what he meant by "false stepping."

He also talked about how he saw Rittenhouse after the shooting, when the defendant said he did not shoot anybody, but he needed help.

The trial is in the fourth day of testimony, and is expected to last two to three weeks.


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