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Rittenhouse trial approaches in Kenosha, after more rulings from circuit judge

Chuck Quirmbach
The Kenosha County Courthouse, site of Monday's hearing, and the Rittenhouse trial beginning Nov. 1.

A judge has spelled out more of the rules for next week's scheduled trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teenager facing homicide charges for a confrontation during protests over a police shooting in Kenosha.

A Kenosha officer's wounding of a Black man, Jacob Blake Jr., touched off several nights of demonstrations last year. In one incident, Rittenhouse, who said he was helping protect a Kenosha business, shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber to death and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse is claiming self-defense.

During a hearing Monday, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger argued against allowing testimony from the defense's use of force expert, John Black, concluding that jurors could make up their own mind about the evidence.

"His [John Black's] training and expertise is not going to put him [Kyle Rittenhouse] in any better position that the reasonable people that we're going to be picking for this jury," ADA Binger said. "They'll be shown the exact same things Dr. Black has seen. They will be able to analyze it and look at it the same way he did, and they can come to their own conclusions."

image - 2021-10-26T081658.310.png
Screengrab from courtroom video
Kenosha Co. Judge Bruce Schroeder listens during Monday's hearing on legal motions in the Rittenhouse case.

Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled that Black will be allowed to talk about the timeline of the shootings. But, the judge said Black won't be able to discuss Rittenhouse's state of mind.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors also battled over whether the jury will be allowed to see video of law enforcement telling Rittenhouse and other armed militia members — before the shootings happened —that they appreciated their presence, and tossing Rittenhouse a bottle of water.  

Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said the video is evidence jurors should take into consideration when thinking about Rittenhouse's behavior.

"When he [Rittenhouse] has conversations with police officers and they let him go about his business, and the police say things like they've said on that tape, those go to his state of mind," Chirafisi said.

ADA Binger argued the police assessment of Rittenhouse — prior to him killing two people — does not have any bearing on whether the teenager's later actions were lawful.

But Judge Schroeder said in court that the video probably is admissible.

Jury selection in the Rittenhouse trial is scheduled for Monday.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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