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Kyle Rittenhouse Trial: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers Calls Up National Guard In Preparation For Verdict

MADISON, Wis. (CBS/AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has called up the state's National Guard in preparation for the verdict in the Kyle Rittehouse trial.

About 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops have reported for state active duty to help support local partners.

"We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe," Gov. Evers said in a news release. "The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing. I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully."

National Guard members will stage outside Kenosha on a standby status to respond as needed. Evers' office did not specify any foreknowledge of possible civil unrest.

Testimony has ended in Rittenhouse's trial has ended, and closing arguments are set to begin Monday. The case will then go to the jury, jury which will be allowed to consider some lesser charges in addition to those prosecutors originally brought against him.

After fierce debate between prosecutors and attorneys for the 18-year-old Illinois man on Friday without jurors present, Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder said he would issue final rulings on Saturday about which lesser charges the jury could consider. But he also made some findings from the bench and indicted how he is inclined to rule on others.

Schroeder's decisions on the matter could be significant, with many legal observers saying prosecutors struggled to poke holes in Rittenhouse's claims that he shot two men and wounded a third in self-defense during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 when he fatally shot two protesters and wounded a third in August 2020 during a chaotic night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, testified that he had acted in self-defense. Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Monday in the case that has left Americans divided over whether the Antioch, Illinois teenager was a patriot who took a stand against lawlessness or a vigilante who brought a gun to a protest.

Rittenhouse is charged with several counts, including homicide and attempted homicide, in the killings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz. Wisconsin law allows the prosecution and defense to ask that jurors be told they can consider lesser charges as part of the instructions they receive before deliberating the case.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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