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The presiding judge in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has ruled that prosecutors cannot call the men that he is charged with shooting “victims”, but that the defense team isn’t bound by those rules, already casting doubts about the fairness of the proceedings.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder ruled on Monday (October 25th) that the prosecution should refrain from calling the men Rittenhouse shot as “victims” in their opening statements to the jury because “because it would be prejudicial to Rittenhouse,” he said. “The word victim is a loaded, loaded word.” Schroeder cautioned the defense to avoid doing so as well, but he did grant them the opportunity to call these individuals “rioters” and “looters” in closing arguments. “He can demonize them if he wants if he thinks it will win points with the jury,” Schroeder said in court.

Rittenhouse, a teenager from Antioch, Illinois traveled across state lines to Wisconsin last year, shooting Anthony Huber, Gaige Grosskreutz and Joseph Rosenbaum using an AR-style semiautomatic rifle described as a “long gun” during protests for Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot in the back by a Kenosha police officer. Huber and Rosenbaum died from their injuries afterward. Another judge had previously blocked any attempt by the prosecution to argue Rittenhouse’s affiliation with the Proud Boys or that he attacked a woman before the incident from being considered in the case. Rittenhouse has since become a darling of conservatives who’ve raised money towards his defense.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger objected to this ruling, citing that it creates a double standard. The judge had already indicated that he’d allow evidence from the defense of bad behavior from Rosenbaum and Huber from that night because it could show that Rittenhouse could have a reason to defend himself. “This is an attempt to tell the jury that Mr. Rosenbaum was a bad guy who deserved to die,” Binger said. “That’s really what’s going on here, your honor.” This was one of the last rulings the judge made before the opening of jury selection is to take place on November 1st.

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