CHICAGO – A 17-year-old accused of killing two protesters after Jacob Blake was shot dead by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will be on trial again Friday as his lawyers try to get him to Wisconsin to be tried for murder.
An immediate decision is not expected during Kyle Rittenhouse’s scheduled hearing in Lake County, Illinois. At the last Rittenhouse trial in late September, Judge Paul Novak gave his lawyers two weeks to prepare the filings and said he would then schedule a hearing on the matter.
In court files filed late Thursday, Rittenhouse attorneys argued that he was acting in self-defense and extradition to Wisconsin authorities would violate his constitutional rights.
They also argue that the Wisconsin attorneys and the Illinois authorities failed to comply with the legal aspects required for extradition. A Kenosha County prosecutor did not immediately respond to an e-mail about the extradition papers Thursday after hours.
Extradition is usually a straightforward process, and legal experts have expressed doubts that Rittenhouse̵
His arrest has become a rallying point for some on the right, with a legal protection fund that has attracted millions in donations. Others see a domestic terrorist in Rittenhouse whose presence incited the demonstrators with a gun.
The document echoes the attorneys’ earlier portrayal of Rittenhouse as a courageous patriot, exercising his right to bear arms during the riot over the shooting of Blake, who is black.
Exterminating Rittenhouse, they claim, “would turn him over to the mob.”
“The untimely and unsupported charges are contributing to an unjustified public conviction,” the lawyers wrote. “Rittenhouse has been publicly branded a” mass murderer “,” terrorist “,” racist “and more.”
Rittenhouse was arrested at his home in Antioch, Illinois, the day after prosecutors said he shot two demonstrators and injured a third in a riot on the streets of Kenosha on August 25 over Blake’s shooting.
The white Rittenhouse is charged with the willful murder of two white demonstrators of the first degree and the attempted murder of a third. He is also charged with underage gun possession for carrying a semi-automatic rifle.
How Rittenhouse were or are the two killed and the third wounded man knows. If Rittenhouse is convicted of first degree murder, he will be sentenced to life in prison.
Legal experts had questioned the basis on which Rittenhouse’s lawyers could fight his extradition, which is usually an undisputed move. Lake County attorney Mike Nerheim said that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed an arrest warrant to return Rittenhouse to Wisconsin at the request of Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
The murders came amid protests on Kenosha’s streets two days after a white police officer shot Blake seven times in the back. He was paralyzed from the waist down and sparked outrage after the shooting video was posted online. A Wisconsin Department of Justice investigation into the shootings is ongoing. The three officers who respond are on administrative leave.
According to prosecutors and court documents, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, from Kenosha, after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, missed him and tried to tear off his rifle.
Trying to get away with it immediately afterwards, Rittenhouse was caught on a cell phone video that read, “I just killed someone.” According to the complaint filed by the prosecutor, someone in the crowd said, “Beat him up!” and another yelled: “Get him! Get the guy! “
The video shows that Rittenhouse stumbled on the street. When he was on the ground, Silver Lake, 26-year-old Anthony Huber hit him with a skateboard and tried to take his rifle away. Rittenhouse opened fire, killed Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz von West Allis, who was holding a pistol in his hand.
Rittenhouse’s extradition would not be a problem if he was arrested on the night of the Kenosha shootings. A cell phone video that recorded part of the action shows that right after the shootings, Rittenhouse slowly walked towards a police vehicle with his hands raised, only to be waved through by the police.
He returned to his home in Illinois and soon turned himself in. The police later blamed the chaotic conditions for not arresting Rittenhouse at the scene.