Waukegan, IL – An Illinois judge granted a month-long delay on Friday morning to the 17-year-old gunman facing extradition to Wisconsin on homicide charges in connection with the fatal shootings of two protesters during the riots in Kenosha while a crack team of defense attorneys is assembled.
A judge in Waukegan postponed the extradition hearing for Kyle Rittenhouse to Sept. 25 during a brief virtual hearing that the 17 year old did not participate in, WEAR reported.
Lake County Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Snyder asked for the delay so that Rittenhouse could retain private counsel to represent him.
The teen is facing five felony charges including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor, WEAR reported.
Rittenhouse is facing a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted of the intentional homicide charge.
The Wisconsin justice systems treats anyone 17 years of age or older as an adult, according to WEAR.
Snyder told the judge that Rittenhouse was in the process of hiring Los Angeles-based attorney John Pierce, of Pierce Bainbridge, to represent him.
High-level attorney L. Lin Wood, best known for representing Richard Jewell, Jon Benet Ramsey’s parents, and former U.S. Representative Gary Condit (D-California) when the politician was being investigated in the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, has also volunteered to assist in the teenager’s defense.
“(1) Thanks to ALL Freedom Loving Americans who responded to requests for contact information on Kyle Rittenhouse. We have connected with Kyle’s family & help is on the way. Kyle will have excellent legal representation. We owe him a legal defense,” Wood tweeted on Aug. 27.
“(2) Many others will need your help in coming days. Stay strong. Continue to speak truth. Continue to demand justice under our Constitution. Continue to be fearless,” he added in another tweet.
“(3) Most important of all, continue to pray for your fellow citizens. Pray for our President. Pray for our country. And always, always, always #FightBack. We will not go quietly in the night. We are Americans,” the attorney posted.
(3) Most important of all, continue to pray for your fellow citizens. Pray for our President. Pray for our country. And always, always, always #FightBack.
We will not go quietly in the night. We are Americans. 🇺🇸
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) August 27, 2020
Wood also announced that the attorneys representing Rittenhouse had launched a non-profit to help fund his legal defense after traditional crowdfunding platforms labeled the teen a “mass shooter” and shut down online fundraisers, the New York Post reported.
“The #FightBack Foundation legal team is heading out to meet with Kyle & his family,” he tweeted.
The attorney said he wouldn’t be threatened out of representing people who are being coerced and intimidated by the leftist mob.
I will not take one thin dime from #FightBack Foundation donations for my time or expenses. I have security team of Navy SEALS to provide security for me, my family, my employees, & my neighbors. I will pay those costs. I will not be intimidated by leftist tactics or threats. https://t.co/haYQEXyDfx
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) August 28, 2020
“I will not take one thin dime from #FightBack Foundation donations for my time or expenses. I have security team of Navy SEALS to provide security for me, my family, my employees, & my neighbors. I will pay those costs. I will not be intimidated by leftist tactics or threats,” Wood tweeted.
Rittenhouse went to Kenosha on Aug. 25 in response to a call for help on Facebook from a militia group who called itself the Kenosha Guard after two nights of violent riots in the city following the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake by police, WMAQ reported.
“Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend [our] City tonight from the evil thugs?” the group asked.
Then the Kenosha Guard posted a message to Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis that said they had 3,000 people mobilizing to help protect the city, WMAQ reported.
Shortly after Rittenhouse was dropped off in Kenosha by his mother, he was photographed helping volunteers scrub graffiti off the walls of a high school near the Kenosha County Courthouse, the New York Post reported.
@jalenrose talk to the people at the NY post about this, i know you’ve seen this too. #gtgtpwtw RT @nypost: Suspected teen gunman Kyle Rittenhouse spotted cleaning Kenosha graffiti before shooting https://t.co/B8G3AO1Qqw pic.twitter.com/9qejiiqxnO
— Mattie Mo (@Mattie_Mo) August 28, 2020
In a video interview with the Daily Caller in Kenosha just hours before the shooting, Rittenhouse explained why he was with a group of armed, older men protecting businesses, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,” the teenager explained in the interview. “And my job also is to protect people. If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta’ protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”
Cell phone videos posted to social media showed what happened at about 11:45 p.m. on Aug. 26 that left two people dead and a third person seriously wounded.
The teen identified as Rittenhouse could be seen in his green shirt carrying a semi-automatic rifle in several of the videos filmed through the night.
Some reports have claimed that Rittenhouse was leaving the area when rioters chased him.
In one video, rioters were attacking him with a skateboard before he opened fire on them.
Several witnesses told Heavy that Rittenhouse was running down the street screaming that he wasn’t the shooter as people chased him.
They said he was struck by someone with a skateboard and fell to the ground with the gun firing.
Extended footage of the shooting in Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/oBG6UgT0Fs
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 26, 2020
Those witnesses told Heavy that the first shooter was a white man in a helmet and bullet-proof vest who got into an argument with Black Lives Matter activists who had started fires in the area.
They said Rittenhouse wasn’t the same person.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has said that authorities don’t yet know if there was more than one person shooting in the crowd, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.