A Wisconsin judge ruled that lawyers for the man accused of shooting three protesters last summer during anti-police violence can refer to them by their names: “rioters,” .”
, and “looters”.
That term is “loaded,” the judge ruled, because it presupposes that Mr. Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense.
Mr. Rittenhouse, who also is White, is charged with homicide and other crimes in the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz.
Judge Schroeder denied a request from the prosecution preventing defense attorneys from referring to the three men that way if the evidence shows that.
“If there were more than one person involved in arson, looting, rioting or rioting, I won’t tell the defense that you can’t call it that,” said the judge.
Monday’s hearing laid out the final ground rules on what evidence will be allowed when Mr. Rittenhouse goes on trial next week, and the judge handed Mr. Rittenhouse‘s lawyers most of what they sought.
The hearing was likely the last before Mr. Rittenhouse goes on trial Nov. 1 for the shootings during chaotic demonstrations in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020, two days after a white police officer in that city shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back while responding to a domestic disturbance.
Mr. Rittenhouse, 18, of Antioch, Illinois, was among a number of people who responded to calls on social media to take up arms and come to Kenosha to respond to the protests.
Mr. Rittenhouse’s lawyers want John Black, a use-of force expert, to testify that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self defense. The prosecution argued that jurors do not need to be an expert in order to understand the events of that night.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said if Judge Schroeder allowed Mr. Black to testify only about the timeline of events that night he wouldn’t call his own expert to the stand. Mark Richards, defense attorney, agreed to the agreement.
Mr. Binger also asked Judge Schroeder to bar a video that shows police telling Mr. Rittenhouse and other armed militia members on the streets that they appreciated their presence and tossing Mr. Rittenhouse a bottle of water. The prosecution claimed that the video would make the trial into an opinion on police procedure, which is not relevant.
“This case is about what the defendant did that evening,” Mr. Binger stated. “I worry that this will become a trial about the actions or inactions of law enforcement on that night .”
Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi argued the video shows that police felt Mr. Rittenhouse wasn’t acting recklessly.
Judge Schroeder decided to allow the video.
” If the jury is asked, is it possible that the defendant is walking along the sidewalk doing the he claims he was hired for and the police say you’re good to be here? The judge stated that this would be relevant.
Many conservatives have flocked to support Mr. Rittenhouse, calling him a patriot and making him a symbol for gun rights and raising $2 million for his bail. Some liberals and Democratic politicians portray him a domestic terrorist, while others say he worsened a volatile situation.
This article was partly inspired by wire-service reports.