A judge ruled prosecutors couldn’t say Kyle Rittenhouse was affiliated with the Proud Boys or attacked a woman months before the Kenosha, Wis., Shooting last year.
Rittenhouse is due to stand trial from November 1 on several counts, including manslaughter. The 18-year-old claims he opened fire in self-defense after men attacked him in a riot following the police shooting against Jacob Blake. Prosecutors say they have infrared video from an FBI surveillance plane that shows Rittenhouse followed and confronted the first man he shot down.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he traveled from his home in Antioch, Ill., Approximately 32 kilometers (20 miles) to Kenosha on August 25, 2020, in response to a social media call to protect businesses the low.
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Rittenhouse then shot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz, killing Rosenbaum and Huber and injuring Grosskreutz.
In a hearing on multiple motions on Friday, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked to argue at trial that Rittenhouse endorses the far-right group, the Proud Boys, and its philosophies. Binger pointed out that Rittenhouse was seen at a bar with members of the group’s Wisconsin chapter in January and traveled to Miami days later to meet with the group’s national president.
Binger also asked the judge to allow evidence that Rittenhouse attacked a woman in June 2020 while she was fighting her sister. He also wants to show jurors a video from 15 days before the shooting in which Rittenhouse said he would like to shoot men he believed to be shoplifting at a drugstore.
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Rittenhouse’s attorney, Corey Chirafisi, countered that none of the events were relevant to the shooting. There is no evidence that Rittenhouse was linked to the Proud Boys on the night of the protest or that the shooting was racially motivated, Chirafisi said, noting that Rittenhouse and the men he shot were white.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder agreed with the defense about the June fight and Rittenhouse’s interactions with the Proud Boys. He postponed a decision on the pharmacy video but said he was inclined to rule it out.
It was during discussion of this video that Binger said prosecutors had infrared surveillance video he said shows Rittenhouse chasing Rosenbaum, who was the first person to be shot by Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, argued that it was Rosenbaum who started pursuing Rittenhouse by shouting, “Kill him!” He said Rosenbaum cornered Rittenhouse in front of a row of cars in a parking lot and threw a bag at him before trying to grab Rittenhouse’s gun.
Binger said surveillance footage showed Rittenhouse chasing Rosenbaum with a fire extinguisher before Rosenbaum turned to confront him. Binger said Rosenbaum was probably trying to push back the barrel of Rittenhouse’s rifle.
After Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum, people on the streets started chasing him. Video from the night of the protests shows Rittenhouse shooting Huber after Huber hit him with a skateboard and attempted to grab his gun. Grosskreutz then approached Rittenhouse with a gun and Rittenhouse shot him.
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Schroeder refused a defense request to argue that Rosenbaum was trying to steal Rittenhouse’s rifle because Rosenbaum was a sex offender and could not legally own a gun.
He delayed the decision on defense requests to dismiss a charge that Rittenhouse possessed his gun illegally because he was a minor and to allow expert testimony on the use of force by the police. He has set another hearing for October 5.
Rittenhouse has found the support of many across the country, who raised $ 2 million to cover his bail, and former President Donald Trump even suggested last year that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.
“He was trying to get away from them, I guess it looks like,” Trump said at a press conference in August. “I guess he had really big problems. He probably would have been killed.”
Rittenhouse’s mother also slammed President Biden in November for a presidential campaign ad that used Rittenhouse’s image “to get votes.”
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“How does he dare [Biden] … Do that to my son, ”Wendy Rittenhouse told host Tucker Carlson in November. “It was to my son that he did that. And I won’t back down from him – and [Kyle] is not a white supremacist. He is not a racist. He’s my son and I know him and he’s not what Joe Biden said. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.