Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense team scored a pre-trial victory Monday after a Wisconsin judge ruled that prosecutors cannot refer to the three men Rittenhouse allegedly shot as “victims.”
Judge Bruce Schroeder denied Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger’s request to stop Rittenhouse’s defense team from referring to Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz as rioters and arsonists.
“If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I’m not going to tell the defense you can’t call them that,” Schroeder said, according to ABC 7. Schroeder also said the three men could not be referred to as victims, according to the report.
“The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word,” Schroeder reportedly said. “‘Alleged victims’ is a cousin to it.”
Schroeder also denied a request from Binger to bar the showing of a video in which police officers told Rittenhouse and other armed individuals that they appreciated their presence and gave Rittenhouse a water bottle, according to The Associated Press (AP). Binger said the video would turn the “trial about what law enforcement did or didn’t do that night,” while defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said it showed officers didn’t think Rittenhouse was being reckless, according to the report.
“If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say good thing you’re here, is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance,” Schroeder said, according to the AP.
Schroeder ruled in September that prosecutors are not allowed to allege Rittenhouse is affiliated with any far-right groups after Binger asked to argue he was connected to the Proud Boys. Schroeder agreed with Chirafisi that the shootings could not have been racially motivated as the men Rittenhouse shot were white and there was no connection between Rittenhouse and the Proud Boys the night of the shooting.
Rittenhouse faces several charges, including First Degree Reckless Homicide, Recklessly Endangering Safety, and First Degree Intentional Homicide. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. (RELATED: ‘We Don’t Think He Did Anything Wrong’: Gun Rights Group Details Why They Think The Rittenhouse Shooting Was ‘Self Defense’)
Video footage from the night of the incident shows Rittenhouse being chased by Rosenbaum into a parking lot, with Rosenbaum appearing to throw an object at the defendant. The object was later determined to be a plastic bag. Rosenbaum then tried to get Rittenhouse’s gun, prompting Rittenhouse to allegedly shoot Rosenbaum.
At 23:19, Rittenhouse is seen in this YouTube livestream. He’s being chased into a parking lot. While he is being pursued, an unknown gunman fires the first shot into the air. pic.twitter.com/BSD8rd6ARN
— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) August 27, 2020
A second video captures Rittenhouse running down the street while being chased by Huber, who approached Rittenhouse and swung his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appeared to shoot Huber once.
Rittenhouse allegedly shot and injured Grosskreutz after video showed Grosskreutz holding a handgun and seemingly pointing it at Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse then allegedly fired a shot and hit Grosskreutz in the arm.
The trial is set to begin on Nov. 1.