Wisconsin prosecutors asked the court on Thursday to allow evidence showing suspected protest shooter Kyle Rittenhouse had links to a designated hate group and previously showed violent behavior before allegedly killing two people during a protest last year.
According to Kenosha News, prosecutors submitted an “other acts” motion that would introduce evidence showing Rittenhouse has ties to the Proud Boys — an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group. Prosecutors also want to present a video taken a month before the fatal August 25 shooting which allegedly shows Rittenhouse punching a teen girl at a lakefront in Kenosha.
Defense attorneys said the video is irrelevant in this case and denied allegations that Rittenhouse is associated with the Proud Boys.
“There is no evidence that Mr. Rittenhouse is a member of any organization relating to race or political hate groups. There has been no evidence that any witness involved in this matter is now — or has ever previously been — a member of an organization such as the Proud Boys,” the defense wrote in response, according to Kenosha News.
Rittenhouse is charged with two counts of homicide and one of attempted homicide. He was 17 when he allegedly used an AR-15-style to fatally shoot Joesph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, during a protest for the officer-related shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.
Rittenhouse claimed while at the protest, he was hit in the head and neck with a baseball bat and skateboard. While medics reportedly observed superficial scratches on his arm, they did not see any bruising or cuts.
In addition to the prosecutors’ motion, the defense filed a motion asking to admit evidence that Rosenbaum was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor.
The court is expected to hear arguments about those motions on August 17. Rittenhouse, who is free on $2 million bond, is set to stand trial in November.
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[Featured image: Kyle Rittenhouse/Antioch Police Department, YouTube video screengrab]