Prosecutors in the trial of Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse are asking a judge to ban lawyers from calling the men he shot ‘rioters’ or ‘looters’ as the case prepares to go to trial next month.
Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with manslaughter and attempted manslaughter for fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, as well as for wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, during a Black Lives Matter protest on August 25, 2020. His trial begins November 1.
On Monday, prosecutors filed a motion to prohibit the defense from referring to the criminal histories of the three victims or calling them “pejorative” terms such as “looters” and “rioters.” Kenosha News.
“Just as this court forbids the state from naming anyone as a ‘victim,’ so these terms detract from the status of those individuals,” the motion said. “There has never been a judicial finding that any of these individuals rioted, looted or set fire to on the night of August 25, 2020.
“Furthermore, the defendant deprived Mr. Rosenbaum and Mr. Huber of their ability to defend their reputation against these types of attacks when he killed them both.”
Rittenhouse, accused of shooting three people during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin last year, awaits the start of his motion hearing on Oct. 5.
Victims: On August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse fatally shot Anthony Huber (right) and shot and wounded Gaig Grosskruetz (left)
Prosecutors also want to ban discussion of any lawsuits related to the case and asked that all parties to the case be referred to “formally by their last name,” likely in response to Rittenhouse supporters calling him Kyle in an effort to remember his childhood. stress, the outlet reports.
The motion comes after Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards argued last week that the jury should be aware of Rosenbaum’s criminal past while calling him a rioter.
“These weren’t protesters, they were rioters,” Richards said, adding that he believed Rosenbaum was trying to steal Rittenhouse’s gun.
Rittenhouse is expected to return to court on October 25 to continue a hearing before his trial begins on November 1.
Rittenhouse’s defense team has previously unsuccessfully tried to dismiss his previous gun charges from his indictment.
Rittenhouse (pictured) carries a gun as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020, during the unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police
Rittenhouse says he acted in self-defense when the protests turned violent, but he will face charges of murder later this year. He is shown shooting at Grosskreutz
Gaige Grosskreutz, pictured, was shot in the arm when protesters and armed civilians clashed during protests over the shooting of black man Jacob Blake by Wisconsin police officer
Video footage from August 25, 2020 shows Joseph Rosenbaum (red t-shirt with black pocket), 36, confronting gunmen during the Kenosha Wisconsin protests
Rittenhouse’s attorney Corey Chirafisi argued that a firearms law only prohibits minors from using short-barreled rifles and not the AR-15 assault rifle the teen was using.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he killed Rosenbaum and Huber in riots caused by the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers have argued that he fired in self-defense after Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz attacked him.
The teen’s lawyers also want the court to allow them to call John R. Black, a self-defense expert, as a witness to substantiate their claims.
Black, a former sheriff’s deputy in Washington County, Oregon, has testified in numerous state and federal cases, offering his expertise in police use of force, decision-making, crowd control, and other law enforcement procedures and practices.
Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was also shot dead by Rittenhouse
Prosecutors charged Rittenhouse on multiple counts, including murder and being a minor in possession of a firearm.
He traveled from Antioch, Illinois, on the night of the deadly shooting to help “protect” the streets of Kenosha from violent protest caused by Blake’s shooting.
Chirafisi, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, stated their request to dismiss the gun charges, arguing that the statute only prohibits minors from owning short-barreled guns.
According to Chirafisi, Rittenhouse used an AR-style semi-automatic rifle with a 16-inch barrel on the night of the shooting.
The only other prohibitions on minors in possession of firearms are in the state’s hunting statutes, which state that children under the age of 12 are not allowed to hunt with guns.
That doesn’t apply to Rittenhouse, as he was 17 the night of the shooting, Chirafisi said.
Binger objected that the lawmaker clearly intended to ban anyone under the age of 18 from “running around with a dangerous weapon” and that the hunting statutes do not apply because Rittenhouse was not hunting the night of the protest.
Rittenhouse (right) confers with one of his attorneys, Natalie Wisco, in court in Kenosha last week
Schroeder sided with Binger, but he said he might revisit the question later because the statutes aren’t clear.
Binger also asked Schroeder to order reporters not to broadcast witness footage during what will be a high-profile trial, as at least some of them fear for their safety.
He did not say which witnesses feel unsafe or whether they have actually been threatened.
Richards said he did not know which frightened witnesses the prosecution was referring to, but a witness to the prosecution bragged on his social media accounts about his subpoena.
Schroeder said he wasn’t sure he has the authority to censor the media and that he presides over other cases he described as “more tense” than the Rittenhouse lawsuit.
Prosecutors also sought permission to release a video in which Rittenhouse says he would shoot some men he believed were shoplifting at a pharmacy 15 days before the protest.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder declined to dismiss gun charges against Rittenhouse last week
Schroeder said last month that he was leaning towards ruling it out.
Schroeder last month rejected both sides’ requests to send questionnaires to potential jurors to investigate prejudice.
The judge wrote in a letter to the lawyers that he fears that people will not fill them out and that recipients would discuss the case with family members, friends and colleagues.
“That could lead to even more conversations about the case, with consequent opinion-forming,” Schroeder said.
Kenosha was gripped by several nights of chaotic protests in August 2020 after a white police officer shot and killed Blake, who is black, during a domestic disturbance, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
The officer, Rusten Sheskey, was not charged. Sheskey shot Blake seven times while Blake was about to get into an SUV.
Kenosha’s police chief, Daniel Miskinis, said Sheskey acted according to policy and will not be punished.
Jacob Blake (pictured) was paralyzed from the waist down after the August 23, 2020 shooting
The officer, Rusten Sheskey, was not charged. Sheskey shot Blake seven times while Blake was about to get into an SUV
The shooting happened three months after George Floyd was murdered while being held by police officers in Minneapolis.
Earlier this year, Blake filed a civil suit accusing the officer of excessive force.
Rittenhouse, now 18, traveled to the city in response to social media posts asking for help defending city businesses.
Many conservatives flocked to support Rittenhouse, calling him a patriot for trying to stop violent protests, make him a symbol for gun rights and raise $2 million for his bail.
Others, including some liberals and activists, portrayed him as a domestic terrorist and said he made the situation worse by bringing a rifle to the streets of Kenosha.