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Attorneys: Rittenhouse trial in November could take 2 weeks

Posted at 12:13 PM, May 21, 2021

Attorneys say the November trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man accused of killing two people during a protest in Wisconsin last summer, could take up to two weeks.

Milwaukee County attorney Johnathan LaVoy weighed in on the latest details to come out of Friday morning's pre-trial hearing for Kyle Rittenhouse, whose murder trial is expected to begin in November. It was the first time Rittenhouse has stepped foot inside the Kenosha County Courthouse after having mainly virtual hearings due to the pandemic.

"This is a very complex case, one of the biggest cases we have in the state right now," said Lavoy, partner with Kim & LaVoy S.C.

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In a last-minute change made Friday, Rittenhouse added Madison attorney Corey Chirafisi to his defense team with lead defense attorney Mark Richards, a move that LaVoy says isn't uncommon.

"In a case of this magnitude, that is expected to last several weeks, with this number of witnesses and the complexity of issues, it would be very appropriate to have multiple attorneys on the defense side."

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During the hearing, the judge, prosecution and defense agreed on three pretrial deadlines before jury selection begins on Nov. 1. Any motions from either side must be filed by July 1, where the judge will then decide if certain evidence or statements will be admissible during the trial.

"It gives both parties notice so they know which pieces of evidence are going to be admitted and which ones are not," said LaVoy.

Meanwhile, both the jury questionnaire and the defense's expert witness list are expected to be submitted by Aug. 1 as well.

Kyle Rittenhouse
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, file photo, Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse's defense team has called him a member of a militia. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and seriously wounding a third.

"It allows the judge to ensure that the testimony of the expert is relevant and appropriate, and not too prejudicial to either side. Questionnaires oftentimes ask people about their knowledge of the case, their backgrounds, some of their impressions about certain issues. It's so difficult to find an unbiased jury in a case of this magnitude because we know there's so been so much publicity," said LaVoy.

Another motion hearing and pretrial date have been set for Rittenhouse to appear back in court on Sept. 17, when the jury questionnaire is expected to be discussed.

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