KENOSHA — The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office doubled-down on its demand for Kyle Rittenhouse to declare his current home address in a publicly accessible plea agreement on Thursday, after Rittenhouse’s defense team argued in an objection that by doing so, the 18-year-old’s life may be put in danger.
On Wednesday, the DA’s Office asked the Kenosha County Court to issue an arrest warrant for Rittenhouse and hike his bond by $200,000 after they say Rittenhouse’s defense did not file his current home address in his initial plea agreement last November. Rittenhouse was released from jail on a $2 million bond paid by supporters.
It appears the address that was filed in Rittenhouse’s initial plea agreement was inaccurate. Rittenhouse and his family were actually living in an undisclosed “Safe House,” according to Rittenhouse’s lawyers, for protection after Rittenhouse and his family received death threats. His attorneys say they are open to filing his real address in court only if it is hidden from public view, a request prosecutors reject.
Rittenhouse was charged with homicide for shooting and killing two people and injuring a third amid protests in Kenosha last summer. He has pleaded not guilty to charges, claiming self-defense.
Filing of Rittenhouse’s plea agreement
In another development, the Kenosha Police Department issued a statement regarding the filing of Rittenhouse’s plea agreement on Nov. 20, 2020.
Rittenhouse’s former defense attorney, John Pierce, claimed in an affidavit Wednesday that when signing the plea agreement, that a Kenosha police captain urged him to not file Rittenhouse’s real address, due to the death threats. That is why, according to Pierce, he provided an old address used by the Rittenhouse’s, while the family moved to the undisclosed address. Pierce recalled it was Captain Tim Schaal who made the recommendation.
But police said Thursday that at the time, Schaal was not only a lieutenant with the department but was off that day and had no contact with Pierce.
Police added that a police captain did have a conversation with Pierce regarding security concerns over the release of Rittenhouse from custody, but that it did not include instructions about how to fill out paperwork.
“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,” according to the statement from Kenosha police.
Reply from Kenosha County prosecutors
On Thursday, prosecutors responded to Rittenhouse’s lawyers’ objections to the arrest warrant and bond hike, writing that he “apparently believes the rules do not apply to him” as every defendant who signs a bond agreement is required to comply with it. Prosecutors interpreted Rittenhouse’s defense to not provide an accurate address as admitting he violated his bond agreement.
Rittenhouse’s case in this regard rests on death threats over the Kenosha shooting. Prosecutors argue the following:
“The defense has not demonstrated a specific, tangible and imminent threat to the defendant that would justify withholding his address from the public,” according to their reply Thursday. They cite the threats provided by the defense to prosecutors as not appearing completely confirmed, as the email provided is from a username and not a real identity.
“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,” according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors insist that Rittenhouse’s bond be increased by $200,000. Their reply Thursday did not mention the request for an arrest warrant for Rittenhouse, which they asked for in their motion on Wednesday.
This article was written by Jackson Danbeck for WTMJ.