Mark Richards, the lead defense attorney in the high-profile Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, informed the court Friday that defendant suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is in therapy.
The revelation came as the judge questioned Rittenhouse about waiving his right to overrule his attorneys during a discussion over what instructions would be provided to the jury. Both sides of the case also discussed whether the jury would be instructed to consider "lesser included offenses," such as the possibility of a conviction for second-degree opposed to first-degree murder. The defense attorneys agreed, appearing to opt for the strategy of pursuing full acquittal.
Judge Bruce Schroeder then asked whether Rittenhouse had agreed to waive his rights and questioned whether he had acted under duress.
"Have you ever been treated for a mental and emotional disorder?" he asked.
Rittenhouse, although he answered previous questions quickly, had paused and whispered to his lawyers. Richards later clarified to the court that Rittenhouse's pause was "because he's in therapy. I don't think he has a mental illness or anything. As a result of this incident, he has PTSD," the lawyer explained.
"Okay. But that doesn't affect his judgement or reasoning power?" the laywer asked. "I don't believe so," Richards replied. "No," Rittenhouse added.
Rittenhouse was mocked by figures on the left earlier in the week for breaking down on the witness stand when asked to describe the fateful encounter on Aug. 25, 2020, when he shot three Black Lives Matter rioters, killing two and injuring a third, that were part of a mob chasing the 17-year-old at the time.
Ahead of the anticipated verdict, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced on Friday that he has authorized the deployment of around 500 Wisconsin Army National Guard troops to support law enforcement authorities in Kenosha.