DENVER (AP) – The judge in the Colorado theater shootings case says a police officer’s testimony that defendant James Holmes smirked at him when he asked if he had accomplices will not be allowed at Holmes’ trial.

The ruling came Friday.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 and injuring 70 in the 2012 attack. Prosecutors and defense lawyers have been debating evidence that could be used to undermine the insanity claim, including indicators that Holmes knew the shootings were wrong.

An officer testified in a hearing that Holmes said nothing but smirked when he asked about accomplices. The judge ruled that wasn’t a form of communication.

The judge said testimony about the expression would be of little use to jurors but could unfairly prejudice them against Holmes.

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