The trial in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide case will begin on Monday with jury selection. Attorneys have said the trial could last up to two weeks.
Rittenhouse, 18, who formerly resided in Antioch, is facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
Rittenhouse is scheduled to appear at the Kenosha County Courthouse for the first day of his trial.
Jury selection is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in front of Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder, court records show.
Kenosha County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Beth said there will be an increased police presence and security at the courthouse for the trial.
“Our responsibility to public safety is of utmost importance. These measures are meant to ensure the safety of the public that has legal business in and around the courthouse campus as well as Civic Center employees while maintaining the integrity of the trial,” Beth said.
Attorneys said during a previous court hearing that the trial could last up to two weeks, but they do not expect it to take that long.
Last Monday, Schroeder addressed multiple motions filed by prosecutors and Rittenhouse’s defense team.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger filed a motion asking Schroeder to prohibit Rittenhouse’s lawyers from referring to the past criminal history of any of the three men who Rittenhouse shot on August 25, 2020.
The motion asked Schroeder to prohibit the defense from referring to any pending lawsuits related to the case and from referring to any of the three men in “pejorative” terms.
Binger said those pejorative terms include “rioters, looters, arsonists” and other similar terms. The motion asked that all parties in the case be referred by their last name.
Schroeder denied that request, saying the defense can use those terms if evidence shows that the three men Rittenhouse shot — Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz — were rioters, looters, or arsonists.
“Let the evidence show what the evidence shows, and if the evidence shows that if any or more than one of these people were engaged in arson, rioting, or looting, then I’m not going to tell the defense they can’t call them that,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said that the three men Rittenhouse shot — Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz — cannot be called “victims.”
Rittenhouse’s lawyers filed a request with the court for John R. Black, an expert witness, to testify at Rittenhouse’s trial.
On October 5, Black said he believed Rittenhouse’s actions on that night meet the Wisconsin statute for self-defense.
Binger asked Schroeder to block Black’s testimony, saying that jurors will see the same videos Black saw and his analysis on the timing of the shootings and intent would be irrelevant as a result.
Binger also argued that Black’s testimony would unnecessarily prolong the trial.
“Anybody can use a stopwatch to time a sequence of events in a video. Anyone can stop a video and watch it frame by frame,” Binger argued when citing Black’s analysis into the timing of the shootings in his 27-page report.
“There are opinions as to the intent of people. I don’t think that’s something that Dr. Black should be giving an opinion on. I don’t think he’s qualified to give that opinion. He acknowledged in his report he hasn’t spoken to the defendant, so he can’t guess what the defendant’s intent was. He can’t give an opinion as to what the defendant’s intent was. He certainly can’t give an opinion as to what Joseph Rosenbaum or Anthony Huber intended before they’re both dead,” Binger said.
Judge Schroeder allowed Black to testify at the trial, saying that the timing of events is crucial and his analysis would increase accuracy.
Binger said he would have no issue if Black’s report was about timing only, but said his interpretations of intention are “crossing the line.”
Both the defense and prosecution made a deal and agreed to have Black testify only about the timeline of events. In return, Binger agreed he would not call his use-of-force expert, Robert Willis, to testify.
Schroeder also denied the prosecution’s motion asking him to block evidence from being admitted by the defense that shows a law enforcement officer providing water to Rittenhouse and telling him and others “we appreciate you guys, we really do” on the night of the shootings.
Binger argued there is no connection between the short police interaction and the shootings.
“This is not a trial about the police activities. It is not a trial of police tactics. It is not a trial of whether or not law enforcement that night took action or didn’t take action. This is a case of what the defendant did that night.”
“I’m concerned that this is going to be turned into a trial over what law enforcement should or shouldn’t have done that night,” Binger said.
Corey Chirafisi, another one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, argued that Rittenhouse’s interactions with law enforcement showed his intent and showed Rittenhouse was not acting in a reckless manner, citing the reckless homicide charges against Rittenhouse.
“The way that Mr. Binger has chosen to charge the case has opened up, in our view, the facts and circumstances surrounding when it happened because the totality of the circumstances go into play in determining whether or not (Rittenhouse’s) behavior shows an utter disregard for human life,” Chirafisi said.
Schroeder decided to allow the video of the interaction to be shown at the trial.