Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, faces several felony charges in Wisconsin, including first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, as well as attempted first-degree intentional homicide, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, and first-degree reckless endangerment.
The teen’s attorney John Pierce said during a hearing Friday that he intends to fight extradition. The judge gave 14 days for the defense to review papers and file pleadings ahead of an Oct. 9 hearing.
Pierce asked for a month to prepare arguments challenging extradition that he said involves”issues of some complexity, frankly that have not arisen in the country for some time.”
“We intend to challenge extradition by writ of habeas corpus,” Pierce said.
He didn’t provide further details at the hearing about the basis for the challenge.
Rittenhouse attended the hearing via Zoom and did not speak, other than to say, “Good morning your honor” to the judge. He wore a blue face mask and a black sweatshirt.
Investigators said Rittenhouse was armed with a Smith & Wesson AR-15-style rifle when he and others reportedly went to protect Kenosha businesses from being vandalized during protests that broke out following the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse’s high-profile defense and fundraising teams, led by Los Angeles-based Pierce and Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, refused to speak about their strategy ahead of the teen’s appearance in Illinois court. However, Pierce has repeatedly claimed that Rittenhouse was attacked by protesters and acted in self-defense.
“If this is not self-defense for Kyle Rittenhouse under the circumstances, then no one can protect themselves, no one can protect their family and no one can protect their country,” Pierce said in a video posted to Twitter, while noting self-defense is a “God-given right.”
“We are not going to allow a prosecutor in Kenosha, Wis., to take it away from Kyle,” he continued.
Rittenhouse is being held in Illinois, where he was arrested hours after the shooting deaths, pending extradition to Wisconsin.
According to prosecutors and court documents, Rittenhouse shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, of Kenosha, after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, missing him, and tried to wrestle his rifle away.
Video shows Rittenhouse tripped in the street. As he was on the ground, 26-year-old Anthony Huber, of Silver Lake, hit him with a skateboard and tried to take his rifle away. Rittenhouse opened fire, killing Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, of West Allis, who was holding a handgun.
Tucker Carlson on his Wednesday night show revealed new footage from Kenosha that shows Rittenhouse running with a fire extinguisher ahead of the confrontation with Rosenbaum and Huber. In the footage, provided by a nonprofit organization affiliated with Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, Rosenbaum later appears to chase after Rittenhouse when a single gunshot is fired.
A surrounded Rittenhouse squeezed four shots in Rosenbaum’s direction. Seconds later, three additional shots were reportedly fired by an unknown shooter. One bullet grazed Rosenbaum’s head while another penetrated his right groin, his left thigh, and his back.
At this point, according to the video’s narration, an unidentified protester strikes Rittenhouse in the head, causing him to fall to the ground. Another protester attempts to jump on Rittenhouse, who then fires two shots into the air. Yet another protester then strikes Rittenhouse in the back of the head with what appears to be a skateboard while reaching for the teen’s rifle. Rittenhouse fires a single shot, striking the man in the chest.
Eric Creizman, a former partner at Pierce’s firm, said the heated language in Pierce’s video is not surprising because of his former boss’ tendency toward hyperbole, though he wonders if it will backfire.
“The question really should focus on whether this guy is guilty of what they’re charging him with,” he said, “instead of making it into a political issue.”
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Yael Halon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.