Throughout the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, one of the alleged “victims” was known only as “jump kick man” and identified only by his action and his pants. It now turns out that the prosecutors knew not only who he was but where he was before the trial. The question is whether the defense was informed that “jump kick man” was actually Maurice Freeland, 39.
The video played at trial appears to show Freeland running at Rittenhouse and kicking him shortly after Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum. Rittenhouse insisted that he shot at Freeland in self-defense.
The incident became Count 3 against Rittenhouse for first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon. That count carries a possible prison term of 12 1/2 years in prison with the possible addition of five more years on the weapon element.
Once the prosecutors were forced to drop the sixth count on unlawful possession, the third count became arguably their best chance for a compromise verdict.
While the prosecutors would likely object, the defense could have sought to introduce Freeland’s record (particularly for any impeachment effort). He has a lengthy criminal history in Wisconsin, including charges for battery, disorderly conduct and driving while intoxicated this year. That means that all of the alleged victims had criminal records. In Freeland’s case, he has an open criminal complaint for domestic violence for an attack on his partner in a drunken rage, ultimately throwing her to the ground and kicking her in her ribcage before she managed to flee. He has various violent offenses in his record as well as escaping from custody and parole violations.
There is no confirmation whether this information was withheld from the defense. That would be a serious violation, if true. It would add to a lengthening list of blunders and alleged violations committed by the prosecution.
What is notable however is that the prosecution suggested that it was unaware of the identity and was speculating on his motivation in kicking Rittenhouse. It turns out that the prosecution spoke to Freeland since it is reported that prosecutors refused his offer to testify in exchange for an immunity deal.
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