KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) — Prosecutors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, took umbrage Thursday after defense attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse said he did not disclose his current home address to the court because he is at a “safe house” due to threats.
The prosecutors said Rittenhouse is acting as if the rules do not apply to him.READ MORE: Police Officer Responding To Shooting, Struck By Bullet Fired By 15-Year-Old Gunshot Victim
Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three people – killing two – during the unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the summer following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police there.
On Thursday, the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office filed a motion to have an arrest warrant issued for Rittenhouse and to have his bond increased by $200,000 – after it turned out that he no longer lived on Anita Terrace in Antioch, Illinois, despite filing paperwork saying he did.
Attorney Mark Richards, who represents Rittenhouse, responded that Rittenhouse and his family had received “numerous death and other threats” following the incident in which Rittenhouse is charged. Richards said the threats were delivered by social media, email and postal mail.
Thus, Richards wrote, the entire Rittenhouse family deleted their social media and email accounts and had to go to an undisclosed “safe house.”
Richards also wrote that attorney John Pierce, who had been on the Rittenhouse defense team previously, had been instructed directly by “a high-ranking member of the Kenosha Police Department” not to provide the address of the safe house because of the threats.
In a filing Thursday, defense attorneys wrote that none of this makes any difference and Rittenhouse still needs to tell the court where he lives.
“An accused murderer, Kyle Rittenhouse, apparently believed the rules do not apply to him, and has once again refused to inform the Court where he resides,” prosecutors wrote. “The bond in this case, which is a Court order, requires him to inform the Court where he lives. Every criminal defendant who signs a bond is required to comply with it, and his signature on that bond is his acknowledgement of and promise to fulfill that requirement.”
Prosecutors said Rittenhouse “fully admits” that he has violated his bond by admitting that he has not lived at the Anita Terrace address since he was released from ail on $2 million bond in November and admitted that he lied about the address on both bonds he has signed in this case – including a new one just 13 days ago on Jan. 22.
Prosecutors dismissed the “excuses” for why Rittenhouse has “unilaterally decided that he does not need to comply with the Court’s order.”
Defense attorneys noted that Rittenhouse’s Anita Terrace address had been made public – potentially putting his safety in jeopardy. But prosecutors noted that someone else lives there now – as Kenosha police found out in December – and if Rittenhouse’s safety concerns are accurate, that man — Aidan Earl — is now in danger, too, given that Rittenhouse claimed to the court that he still lived there.
“In essence, he put somebody else in jeopardy to protect his own skin,” prosecutors wrote.
Further, prosecutors said, an affidavit by former Rittenhouse defense attorney John Pierce claimed that a Kenosha police captain said Rittenhouse did not need to put the address of the safe house and could just put the Antioch address. Neither Pierce nor the police detective gets to do this, prosecutors said.
Meanwhile in a separate statement, Kenosha police said this did not even happen.
“A Kenosha Police Captain did have a brief conversation with Mr. Pierce, regarding security concerns raised by Mr. Pierce, surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse release from custody. The conversation did not include instructions about how to fill out paperwork,” Kenosha police said in a statement. “It is the responsibility of the defendant and his/her representation to complete bond paperwork completely and accurately. It is the further responsibility of the defendant to comply with conditions of bond.”READ MORE: World's Smallest Flying Structure Developed By Northwestern Engineers
Kenosha police also said Pierce got the name and rank of the police official who was involved wrong.
Defense attorney Richards noted that on Nov. 30 another Rittenhouse attorney, Corey Chirafisi, asked the District Attorney’s office if they would agree to allow Rittenhouse’s information to be filed under seal due to the threats. Prosecutors in turn said Rittenhouse’s defense team was told it would need to file a motion for that – but never did and instead “unilaterally and deliberately violated the Court’s order.”
Prosecutors also took issue with the claim by Rittenhouse’s defense that the where he lives should be kept a secret from the public because of the threats. First, they noted, the new address the defense has now provided under seal is a P.O. box rather than a home address, and thus, Rittenhouse is still withholding his whereabouts from the court “even under seal.”
Second, prosecutors said, Rittenhouse has been charged with the murder of two people and shooting and wounding a third, and it is very rare for such a defendant to be out on bond and roaming freely.
“Understandably, this causes great concern in the community,” prosecutors wrote. “The public has a right to know where he lives.”
Moreover, prosecutors said, the defense only provided one piece of evidence about the threats – which involved an email about what might happen to Rittenhouse in prison.
“There is no indication if this person is from Wisconsin or Wyoming or Western Samoa,” prosecutors wrote. “The sender does not make any actual threat to the defendant but merely discusses what others might do to him in prison. This is hardly a specific, tangible, and imminent threat.”
Prosecutors say Rittenhouse, who is White, left his home in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha after learning of a call to protect businesses after Blake, a Black man, was shot by police seven times in the back Aug. 23 and left paralyzed.
Rittenhouse opened fire with an assault-style rifle during protests two nights later, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse and his attorneys have argued he fired in self-defense.
Conservatives have rallied around Rittenhouse, describing him as a patriot who took up arms to protect people and property, and raised enough money, with help from actor Ricky Schroder, to make his $2 million cash bail on Nov. 20.
Still images from that day show Rittenhouse first posing for photos outside the bar with two adult men who arrived with him, the filing said. In each, Rittenhouse and one of the men flash the “OK” sign. Other screen grabs show Rittenhouse posing for several photographs in a T-shirt which reads, “Free as F**k,” and again flashing the “OK” sign with the adults in the bar, the filing said. The “OK” sign, prosecutors noted, has been co-opted as a white power gesture by “known white supremacist groups.”
The filing also said five men who accompanied Rittenhouse to the bar “loudly serenaded” him with the song, “Proud of Your Boy,” as Rittenhouse stood next to them. “Proud of Your Boy” is a song written for the 1992 Disney film “Aladdin” but not used until a 2011 stage adaptation. It is the source of the name of the far-right self-described “western chauvinist” group the Proud Boys. Prosecutors said the song sung by members of the Proud Boys “as an anthem and for self-identification.”
The incidents documented that day led a judge to modify Rittenhouse’s bond so as to require that he “shall not knowingly have conduct with any person or group of persons known to harm, threaten, harass or menace others on the basis of their race, beliefs on the subject of religion, color, national origin, or gender.”MORE NEWS: Ed's Driveway: Volkswagen ID.4
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