An attorney for an Illinois teenager accused of killing two people during protests over an officer-involved shooting in Kenosha is claiming the prosecution of the teen is political.
Kyle Rittenhouse faces several charges, including homicide, for shootings that killed two men and wounded a third. The incident took place in late August during civil unrest after Kenosha police severely wounded a Black man, Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse is arguing self-defense and is trying to block extradition to Wisconsin. His attorney, John Pierce, told an Illinois judge that the situation is extraordinary.
"There's a massive amount of video evidence that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that shows this is not a legitimate criminal prosecution. It is a political prosecution," Pierce said.
In court records filed late Thursday, Rittenhouse's attorneys argued that extraditing him to Wisconsin authorities would violate his constitutional rights. They also argued that Wisconsin prosecutors and Illinois authorities didn’t follow legal technicalities required for extradition. Angelina Gabriele, Kenosha County's deputy district attorney, said Friday the county's documents “are in compliance with all legal requirements and their other claims do not have any legal merit.”
Extradition is typically a straightforward process, and legal experts have expressed doubt that Rittenhouse’s attorneys could successfully prevent a court from sending him to Wisconsin to face charges there.
His arrest has become a rallying point for some on the right, with a legal defense fund that has attracted millions in donations. But others see Rittenhouse as a domestic terrorist whose presence with a rifle incited the protesters.
The document echoes attorneys’ previous portrayal of Rittenhouse as a courageous patriot who was exercising his right to bear arms during unrest over the shooting of Blake.
Extraditing Rittenhouse, they claim, “would be to turn him over to the mob.”
A prosecutor said the extradition case has been dragging on and asked for a hearing as soon as possible. Judge Paul Novak set a hearing date of Oct. 30.