BROOKLYN - A judge ruled Monday the mother of Nixzmary Brown cannot testify in her husband?s murder trial.

Cesar Rodriguez and Nixzaliz Santiago are being tried separately for the 7-year-old?s murder. In a special hearing, the judge ruled Rodriguez?s defense attorneys cannot call Santiago to the witness stand because it would violate her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Rodriguez?s defense attorney Jeffrey Schwartz contends Santiago is responsible for Brown?s death. Schwartz says the defense can press on with its case because it has enough evidence to show Rodriguez is innocent.

Schwartz says the defense will begin its case Wednesday.

Santiago is awaiting a separate trial. Santiago?s lawyers hope her trial will begin in the next few months.

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