Robert E. Crimo Jr. waits to leave following an appearance before Judge George D. Strickland at the Lake County courthouse on Friday in Waukegan. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP / Pool)

The father of the Highland Park shooter appeared in court ahead of his trial on Monday where prosecutors will argue he helped his son obtain a gun permit despite knowing of his son’s violent ideations.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Robert Crimo Jr., 58, of Highwood, in mid-December with seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm.

Crimo Jr. appeared in court Friday morning for a status hearing, which lasted approximately 40 minutes.

The hearing, which was the final pre-trial hearing in the case, consisted of attorneys from both sides discussing last-minute matters.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Sam Crimo, the younger brother of 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, is expected to testify that he heard homicidal and suicidal statements from Crimo III, the alleged Highland Park shooter, before the shooting.

Sam Crimo told his therapist at the time of the statements and the therapist contacted the Highland Park Police Department, which conducted a wellness check as a result.

Sam Crimo is expected to be one of 10 witnesses called by prosecutors at Crimo Jr.’s trial, which is expected to last five days.

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Attorneys for Crimo III requested that a nearly eight-hour video of Crimo III’s interview with police following his arrest be hidden from the public when it is admitted at Crimo Jr.’s trial.

The Deputy Chief of Criminal Appeals at the Office of the Illinois Attorney general Garson Fischer (left), Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart (center) and Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Facklam (right) listen to Judge George D. Strickland during a hearing at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan on August 8, 2023. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP / Pool)

The attorneys argued it would jeopardize Crimo III’s right to an impartial jury.

Lake County Judge George Strickland rejected the request, saying he would not be ruling on “secret evidence” and not allow the attorneys to make closing arguments on “secret evidence.”

Relevant portions of the interrogation will be admitted at trial through transcript, Strickland said.

Friday’s court hearing was the second hearing of the week in Crimo Jr.’s case.

Crimo Jr. was in court on Monday for just over an hour as defense attorneys and prosecutors argued motions filed in the case.

Strickland rejected Crimo Jr.’s request to bar two state witnesses from testifying at trial and also rejected a request to exclude text messages from being admitted in evidence at trial.

Rinehart said in court Monday that evidence will show Crimo Jr. had a “cavalier attitude” towards a statement from his son about mass shootings, which was made prior to when he helped his son obtain a gun permit.

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Judge George D. Strickland listens to Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart during a hearing at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan on Monday. | Photo: Nam Y. Huh (AP / Pool)

Rinehart said the father was aware of his son’s violent ideations and it did not stop him from signing the application granting Crimo Jr. the ability to possess guns.

During a prior hearing, the judge said prosecutors will have to prove Crimo Jr.’s act of signing the FOID card application was a reckless act as defined by state law and that it was the proximate cause of the parade victims’ injuries.

In February, a grand jury returned an indictment formally charging Crimo Jr. with the seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony.

“Parents who help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible when those kids hurt others with those weapons,” Rinehart said following the indictment.

“We presented our evidence to a grand jury and they agreed the case should move forward. We will continue to seek justice for the victims and prosecute those who endanger the community,” Rinehart said.

Crimo Jr. is the father of Crimo III, who currently faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

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Robert Crimo Jr., 58, of Highwood (left) and Robert E. Crimo III, 22, of Highwood (right).

Prosecutors and Highland Park police officers allege that Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless at the time that he helped his son obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card.

Prosecutors said that helping his son obtain a FOID card was a contributing cause to the harm suffered by the murder victims in the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park.

The man’s son, Crimo III, was under 21 when he sought to obtain the FOID card and required his father’s participation in the application process.

Rinehart said during a December press conference that parents are in the “best position” to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon.

“They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son,” Rinehart said.

“He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway. This was criminally reckless and a contributing cause to the bodily harm suffered by the victims on July 4,” Rinehart said.