A Wisconsin judge denied requests by both prosecutors and defenders to submit certain evidence for the jury trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during the riots after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.
At the pretrial hearing on Friday, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder told prosecutors they could not use “other acts” evidence to argue Rittenhouse was essentially acting as a teenage vigilante. Rittenhouse, now 18, argued he was acting in self-defense and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors submitted three instances of video and photographic evidence of "other acts" that allegedly show Rittenhouse’s history of violence and desire to carry out vigilante justice. One was a video from June 2020 that shows him hitting a girl who was fighting with his sister, and another was January photos of him posing with members of the far-right militia group, the Proud Boys.
The third instance was a video of him taken two weeks before the shootings outside a CVS with a friend watching people exit, whom Rittenhouse seems to think were looters and says he wished he had his gun on him.
The judge decided he would disallow the first two pieces of evidence and held off on deciding on the CVS video but leaned heavily against it. He reasoned that “all three incidents were likely too dissimilar from the shootings and would improperly suggest that because Rittenhouse did or said something else distasteful, he had the propensity to kill people,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Schroeder also rejected elements of the defense's evidence having to do with the criminal background of Joseph Rosenbaum, one of Rittenhouse’s victims. Rosenbaum was a convicted child molester, which the defense alleged may have motivated him to take Rittenhouse’s gun because he couldn’t legally purchase one himself.
"We don't want the jury to decide this was justified because he got a pedophile off the streets," said Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger, one of the prosecutors.
Additionally, Schroeder declined to dismiss the misdemeanor charge of a minor possessing a firearm, as Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shooting, and he upheld the Nov. 1 trial date.
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Original Author: Virginia Aabram
Original Location: Judge disallows 'other acts' evidence in Kyle Rittenhouse trial