(Headline USA) A judge was expected Tuesday to consider remaining motions in the case of Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who was accused of shooting three people during a race riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
Rittenhouse—who was 17 at the time—maintains he acted in self-defense, but he faces multiple charges, including homicide, for the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. Rioter Gaige Grosskreutz also was injured in the skirmish.
Tuesday’s hearing was to set the final ground rules before a trial begins Nov. 1.
Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder was expected to consider several outstanding motions Tuesday.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys want the judge to dismiss a charge that he possessed his AR-style semiautomatic rifle illegally because he was a minor, and to allow testimony from an expert on police use-of-force decisions.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, were looking for permission to introduce a video showing Rittenhouse saying he’d like to shoot some men he thought were shoplifting from a pharmacy 15 days before the protest. Schroeder said last month he was leaning toward excluding it.
Schroeder on Sept. 23 denied both sides’ request to send questionnaires to potential jurors to probe biases.
The judge wrote in a letter to the attorneys that he’s afraid people won’t fill them out and recipients would discuss the case with family members, friends and co-workers.
“That may trigger even more conversations about the case, with consequent opinion formation,” Schroeder said.
Kenosha was in the throes of several nights of chaotic protests in August 2020 after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is black, during a domestic disturbance, leaving Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake was later revealed to have been lunging for a knife at the time, but due to the heightened racial sensitivity in the wake of the George Floyed riots only weeks before, many mainstream media outlets portrayed him as an innocent victim.
Democrats made hay of the lawlessness, tacitly encouraging the violence and refusing to condemn perpetrators for committing acts of theft, vandalism and worse as havoc reigned in major cities throughout the country.
Then-President Donald Trump routinely condemned the violence but left it to blue-state officials, including Wisconsin’s Democrat Gov. Tony Evers, to determine whether it was necessary to dispatch the National Guard.
Rittenhouse, now 18, traveled to Kenosha in response to social media posts asking for help defending city businesses.
Many conservatives flocked to support Rittenhouse, calling him a patriot for seeking to stop violent protests, making him a symbol for gun rights and raising $2 million for his bail.
Leftists, however, portrayed him as a domestic terrorist and said he made a volatile situation worse by bringing a rifle to the streets of Kenosha.
His act of vigilanteism was a prelude to the growing backlash that would lead many outraged right-wingers to storm the US Capitol on Jan. 6 following a pro-Trump rally.
Nonetheless, Democrats who have hyped the four-hour-long “insurrection” as the greatest assault on democracy since the Civil War have refused to acknowledge the lawless antecedents and rhetoric encouraging violent demonstrations that led to the mostly peaceful uprising at the Capitol.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press