Wisconsin Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has ruled that attorneys in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial could refer to the men the teen shot in Kenosha, Wis., last year as “rioters,” “looters” and “arsonists,” but not “victims” because the term was “loaded,” reports the Washington Post. Rittenhouse faces homicide charges in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and an attempted homicide charge for shooting Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. He also is charged with being a minor in possession of a firearm.
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his attorneys are expected to argue that he acted in self-defense. Schroeder said that while he advised Rittenhouse’s team against using pejorative terms to describe the three men shot, such language could be used in their closing arguments if evidence shows the men participated in criminal acts. “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. Grosskreutz, the lone survivor of the shooting, has not been charged with a crime from that night. Prosecutors suggested the judge was employing a double standard by allowing Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz to be called “rioters,” “looters” and “arsonists” but not “victims,” especially since Rosenbaum and Huber have no chance of defending themselves.