Kenosha County Eye has been granted press credentials for the upcoming trial of Joel Trudell. Trudell faces one year behind bars minus any time for good behavior for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. KCE has covered this case from the date of the arrest. I was there and photographed it. If Trudell and his lawyer get their way, KCE won’t be able to cover the trial. They don’t have a good argument to keep us out, so they are trying to use a loophole.
Trudell’s attorney, William Sulton (D), who is also the President of the Wisconsin ACLU, subpoenaed me today to testify in the trial. I was a witness in my capacity as a journalist, but so were 50 other people. The prosecutor in this case, Zeke Wiedenfeld (D), didn’t subpoena me because it doesn’t make sense. It’s a simple case. Was Trudell disorderly and did he resist arrest? It was captured on at least three video cameras. In a text to me today, Sulton said that he will be asking the Judge to exclude me from the courtroom during testimony. This is called “excluding witnesses” and is used so that witnesses’ memories aren’t tainted by other people’s testimony. T. Clair Binger tried this trick during the Rittenhouse trial. He put me on the witness list, even though I was 15 miles away during the shootings. He wanted me out of the courtroom.
Today I filed a motion to quash the subpoena. I don’t think Trudell nor his attorney should be able to subpoena me to testify with the sole purpose to keep me out. It’s anti-first amendment – especially when there are dozens of people who witnessed Trudell’s behavior. I happen to also find Trudell to be a despicable human being, so like I told Sulton, I’m not going to be a good witness for the defense. I believe the judge will see this. The trial will be presided on by Judge Anthony Milisauskas, one of the fairest judges in the county.
Even if the judge disagrees with me, I will still be permitted to be in the courtroom during jury selection, opening statements, and after I testify. Believe me, I won’t be testifying. I would love to tell the jury how violent Trudell was with two hard-working Sheriff’s Deputies. I would love to tell the jury how disorderly he was when he yelled and shouted profanities in a crowded room – when he lunged towards the elected officials. I would almost trade covering this case for that chance. But I won’t. It would be ineffective assistance of counsel if Sulton calls me to testify.
The trial is scheduled to take place on October 23, 2023 but there are also four felony trials that day, so it is a 50/50 chance that this trial will proceed. Trudell was made a generous plea offer by the liberal Walworth DA, but he rejected it. Also, the subpoena that I received today isn’t legally valid, because it was signed by the attorney. Wis Stat 885.01 doesn’t allow defense attorneys to issue subpoenas in criminal court.
On June 21, 2022, The Kenosha County Democratic Party, led by failed senate candidate Lori Hawkins (D) and Jodi Meurhoff (D) rallied democrats from all over the county to oppose a measure that ended a decade-long prohibition against concealed carry in certain county buildings. Trudell is frequently called a “troll” and is commonly seen at board meetings acting “off.” Trudell is married to Kenosha Attorney Kate Trudell of Johnson Bank, who is also a local liberal activist. Trudell was visibly mocking speakers that spoke in favor of the removal of the “no guns signs” at certain county buildings. He was admonished and warned several times during the first 10 or so speakers.
Chairman Nudo at first was very patient with Trudell, telling him to be respectful of other taxpayers. Eventually it was Trudell’s turn to speak. He went off topic and started verbally attacking members of the board by name, questioning why they accepted campaign contributions, which is normal in elections. Trudell started to get uncivil and disorderly, raising his voice and shouting. He then verbally attacked a resident who passed him while getting in line to speak. He received another warning from Nudo. “I’ll get to you next Nudo!” Trudell shouted. After ignoring the Chairman’s repeated warnings, Nudo ordered Trudell to be removed from the podium. Two Kenosha Deputies politely asked Trudell to back away from the podium. Instead, Trudell refused verbally and clutched the podium saying “I’m not leaving. I am speaking!” Deputies repeatedly gave Trudell verbal commands that he ignored. The struggle ended up on the ground and Trudell continued to fight with the deputies.
Trudell was finally cuffed and booked into the Kenosha County Jail at 8:45pm on June 21, 2022 and spent about 12 hours in jail before being bailed out. Many people commented and cheered him on for fighting with law enforcement. Kenosha DA Mike Graveley recused himself and asked the Walworth County DA Zeke Wiedenfeld (D) to handle the case and it took months to charge him.