Prosecutors say Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse skipped out on his bond by not updating the court with his new address—but Rittenhouse’s former lawyer says police told him to purposefully mislead the court as to where Rittenhouse is living.
Prosecutors are seeking a new arrest warrant and want a $200,000 increase in the bond for the teenage Trump fan from Illinois accused of shooting and killing two people last summer during an uprising in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after he didn’t provide an updated address where he’s staying.
Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two men and wounded another in Kenosha on August 25, as protests exploded over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse was charged with homicide and attempted homicide. His lawyers say he acted in self-defense.
The motion to increase Rittenhouse’s bond was filed after court notices sent to the address listed as Rittenhouse’s were returned by the Postal Service, and police detectives confirmed that a renter was now living at the address, according to the Kenosha News.
“It is extremely unusual for a defendant facing a charge of first-degree intentional homicide in Kenosha County to post cash bond and be released from custody pending trial,” prosecutors said Wednesday in a motion filed with the Kenosha County Court to increase Rittenhouse’s bond from $2 million to $2.2 million.
“Rarely does our community see accused murderers roaming about freely."
Rittenhouse’s current attorney, Mark Richards, filed his own motion Wednesday objecting to the increase, saying Rittenhouse’s new address, at a “safe house,” wasn’t disclosed out of concerns for his safety, a copy of the filings shared with VICE News show. An email from an unknown sender was sent to Richards on January 25, filed as alleged evidence of the threats against Rittenhouse, says that if Rittenhouse is convicted, he’ll be sexually assaulted in prison. (Law and Crime first reported on the content of Richards’ objection.)
Corey Chirafisi, a lawyer working with Richards, emailed Kenosha County assistant district attorney Thomas Binger in November asking to keep Rittenhouse’s new address under seal, the filings show.
Binger refused, citing Wisconsin’s “proud history of open records laws,” but cracked open the door to changing his mind if there were a “specific, tangible, and imminent threat that would justify secrecy.”
As for why the address listed as Rittenhouse’s was not the one where he’s actually living, according to former Rittenhouse attorney John Pierce, who left the case in “mid-January 2021,” the cops basically told him not disclose the address where Rittenhouse was really staying.
Pierce claims that while filling out a form for Rittenhouse’s bond at the Kenosha County Public Safety Building on November 20, he was “approached by a Kenosha Police Department Captain, who offered his assistance.”
“I asked the Kenosha Police Captain what address to put on the form,” Pierce said in a sworn affidavit filed as part of the motion to oppose the bond increase. “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.” The Kenosha Police Department did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
In the new motion objecting to the bond increase, Richards says that he “simultaneously filed a notice updating the court with the defendant’s current address” under a separate motion to seal.
Former President Donald Trump defended Rittenhouse in public comments following the shooting, and his lawyer at the time, far-right activist Lin Wood, raised $2 million from conservatives including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for Rittenhouse’s bond. (Wood later left the case to focus on boosting fake election fraud claims and arguing Trump’s enemies should be executed, and is currently under investigation in Georgia for possibly voting illegally.)
Prosecutors disclosed photos last month showing Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, hanging out at a bar in Wisconsin on Jan. 5, posing with members of the far-right group Proud Boys and using white supremacist hand signs.
“The defendant’s continued association with members of a group that prides itself on violence, and the use of their symbols, raises the significant possibility of future harm,” prosecutors said at the time.
Gavin McInnes was a co-founder of VICE. He left the company in 2008 and has had no involvement since then. He later founded the Proud Boys in 2016.