On Monday, a Wisconsin judge ruled that the defense team for Kyle Rittenhouse can refer to the people he shot as "rioters," "looters," or "arsonists" instead of "victim," during his upcoming trial.
The then 17-year-old from Illinois was arrested last year for fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and gravely injuring Gaige Grosskreutz—all of whom were unarmed—during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse was charged with multiple counts of homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty and his attorneys said he opened fire that night in self-defense.
According to Insider, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder issued the ruling after prosecutors argued Rittenhouse's attorneys shouldn't use "pejorative terms" when referring to Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz.
"Let the evidence show what the evidence shows, that any or one of these people were engaged in arson, rioting, or looting, then I'm not going to tell the defense they can't call them that," said Schroeder during the pretrial hearing.
Grosskreutz is the only survivor and has not been charged with rioting, looting, arson, or any other crime tied to the fatal shooting.
The judge is known for having a longstanding rule of not allowing prosecutors to use the term "victims" when describing people at trial.
Rittenhouse's legal team and prosecutors attended the hearing in preparation for his trial, which is scheduled to begin on November 1, in Kenosha.
The discussion during the hearing included whether defense attorneys can refer to Huber, Rosenbaum, and Grosskreutz as arsonists, rioters, or looters due to their alleged behavior at the Kenosha demonstration, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
"I don't think I'm inclined toward prior restraint," said Schroeder.
When referring to Rittenhouse's defense lawyer, the judge told prosecutors:
"He can demonize him if he wants, if he thinks he'll score points with the jury."
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger argued on Monday the alleged behavior of Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz from the incident that could sway the jury to view them as rioters, looters, or arsonists were not witnessed by Rittenhouse, and therefore, should not be part of his defense.
Binger also accused the judge of having a "double standard" for his rule of using the word, "victim" at trial.
"If I were to count the number of times that you've admonished me not to call someone a victim during a trial, it would be in the thousands," said Binger.
"The word 'victim' is a loaded, loaded word. And I think 'alleged victim' is a cousin to it."
However, Binger strongly disagreed, and responded:
"I think it's the exact same issue. The terms that I'm identifying here, such as 'rioters,' 'looters,' 'arsonists,' are as loaded, if not more loaded, than the term 'victim.'"