Wisconsin Judge denied prosecutor motion to rearrest Kyle Rittenhouse
A Wisconsin judge denied a motion by prosecutors to rearrest Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been accused of murder, after lawyers for the county alleged he violated a bond agreement.
On Thursday, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder refused to issue a warrant to apprehend Rittenhouse and did not abide by a request from the prosecution to raise his bail by $200,000. The 18-year-old was charged with homicide after he allegedly shot three people, killing two of them, during violent August riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Attorneys said Rittenhouse, who was released from jail following a crowdfunded $2 million bond, violated the terms of his temporary release after he failed to notify the court of an address change within the mandatory 48-hour time frame and sought consequences for the suspected violation.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers said he was in a safe house, not on the run. His defense team insisted senior law enforcement figures advised the team not to indicate the teenager’s actual address over two months prior to the prosecutor’s move to put him behind bars again.
“Due to threats made against Kyle, I was concerned for his immediate safety while transitioning out of police custody after his bond was posted. Because of these concerns, I coordinated Kyle’s release with Captain Bill Beth of Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office several days prior to actually posting his bond,” John Pierce, Rittenhouse’s former attorney, wrote in an affidavit.
“I asked the Kenosha Police captain what address to put on the form. The Kenosha Police captain told me that I ‘absolutely should not’ provide the address of the physical location of the Rittenhouse safe house on the form, but to instead provide his home address in Antioch, Illinois,” he continued.
Rittenhouse’s legal team, spearheaded by Mark Richards, confirmed the agreement in response to the motion from prosecutors.
“It is noteworthy that the State has only now decided to file a motion to increase bond in this case, despite having corresponded with Attorney Chirafisi regarding the change in Kyle’s residence over two months ago,” he wrote.
In early February, prosecutors issued the request to rearrest Rittenhouse and labeled him as a flight risk in a motion filed to the county.
“It is important to note that the $2 million came from a dubious Internet fundraising campaign, and the defendant and his family did not post any money toward that bond,” the court document petitioning a penalty against Rittenhouse read. “As a result, the defendant is free from custody with minimal incentive to comply with his bond conditions. He posted no money so he has no financial stake in the bond. He is already facing the most serious possible criminal charges and life in prison, so in comparison, potential future criminal penalties are insignificant. Indeed, the defendant has already demonstrated his carefree attitude by going to a bar immediately after his arraignment on January 5, 2021 and drinking 3 beers in the company of known ‘Proud Boys’ while flashing white supremacist signs and wearing a ‘Free as (expletive)’ shirt.”
It continued: “Rarely does our community see accused murderers roaming about freely. As a result, the defendant’s bond requires him to update the Court in writing within 48 hours of any change of address or telephone number.”
The 18-year-old was reportedly spotted at a bar in January, shortly after his release, wearing a shirt that read “Free as F—” while he drank beer and posed for photographs with supporters.
Rittenhouse allegedly killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber in addition to wounding a third victim, Gaige Grosskreutz, during prolonged unrest in the city following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, investigators said. Questions have been raised about whether the 18-year-old was justified in his actions.
At the time of the shooting, lawyers said Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense and the case against him is “one-sided.”
“In less than 48-hours, the Kenosha County District Attorney, without any meaningful investigation, charged Kyle with intentional homicide and other serious felonies — ignoring the clear video evidence of self-defense,” a webpage dedicated to releasing him read. “The God-given, constitutional right of self-defense is on trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin.”