Wisconsin Judge Bruce Schroeder laid out the final ground rules on evidence for the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in a pretrial hearing on Monday. Schroeder ruled on several motions from both the prosecution and defense relating to terminology, evidence and use of force experts.
The prosecution had sought to bar the defense from referring to the men allegedly shot by Rittenhouse as “rioters” or “arsonists” but Judge Schroeder denied the prosecution’s request. “If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I’m not going to tell the defense you can’t call them that,” the judge said.
“The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word,” Judge Schroeder said. “‘Alleged victim’ is a cousin to it.”
At one point, the judge rebuked Binger for nonchalantly referring to acts of arson. “All we’re talking about is arson, we’re talking about being loud and disorderly,” Binger said of Rosenbaum’s conduct on the night of the rioting.
“I can’t believe some of the things you’re saying,” the judge interjected. “All we’re talking about is arson? Come on.”
The judge also ruled on potential expert testimony. Rittenhouse’s attorneys want use-of-force expert John Black to testify that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Prosecutors have asked Judge Bruce Schroeder to block Black’s testimony, arguing that jurors don’t need an expert to explain the events of the night of the shooting to them.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said if Schroeder only allowed Black to testify about the timeline of events that night and not specific moments of the altercations, then the prosecution wouldn’t call its own expert to the stand. Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards agreed to the compromise.
Jury selection begins on Monday, November 1 and the trial is expected to last at least two weeks. Rittenhouse is charged with first degree murder, attempted murder and other crimes and has plead not guilty to all charges.