A Wisconsin judge is laying out the final ground rules for the trial of accused Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse, including what evidence will be allowed and the testimony of a use-of-force expert.
Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three people during a police brutality protest, killing two and injuring another. Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled that the two deceased men and injured man could not be referred to as victims.
"The word 'victim' is a loaded, loaded word," he said, according to WLS-TV. "'Alleged victim' is a cousin to it."
The news station reports Rittenhouse sat silently in the courtroom as his defense team and prosecutors argued the last minute motions. The then-17-year-old allegedly patrolled the streets of Kenosha with an assault rifle following the Jacob Blake police shooting in August 2020.
"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," the judge said of the sometimes violent protests in the city.
Rittenhouse's attorneys argued for the testimony of use-of-force expert John Black who is expected to say that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. WLS-TV reports that prosecutors asked Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce E. Schroeder to block Black's testimony, arguing that jurors don't need an expert to understand what happened that night.
Schroeder ruled that Black wouldn't be allowed to testify about what Rittenhouse was thinking when he pulled the trigger or whether he definitively acted in self-defense.
"I almost certainly am not going to permit an opinion from anybody on the ultimate facts of the case," he said.
Additionally, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked the judge to bar a video that shows police telling Rittenhouse and other armed militia members that they appreciated their presence before tossing Rittenhouse a bottle of water. The prosecutor said he worries the video will turn the trial into a referendum on police procedure that night.
"This is a case about what the defendant did that night," Binger said. "I'm concerned this will be turned into a trial about what law enforcement did or didn't do that night."
Jury selection begins Nov. 1. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.