Wisconsin prosecutors are asking for an arrest warrant for Kyle Rittenhouse, alleging he no longer lives at the address listed with the court and failed to update his address, “preventing the Court from monitoring his whereabouts,” writes Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger in a court motion.
Prosecutors are also seeking a bond increase of $200,000 after alleging Rittenhouse, who is charged with killing two men and injuring another at a protest in August, “violated the conditions of his bond by failing to update his address in writing with the Court within 48 hours of moving.”
In the motion filed Wednesday, Binger writes that on December 22, 2020, the clerk of the Circuit Court mailed a notice to the defendant at the address he’d given “and the notice was returned unclaimed on January 28, 2021.” Kenosha Police detectives were dispatched to the residence on February 2, the motion says, and with the help of the current resident a neighbor, determined Rittenhouse no longer lived there.
Attorneys for Rittenhouse objected to the prosecutor’s motion filed Wednesday, citing “numerous death and other threats based on the events of August 25, 2020 in the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin.”
Attorney John Pierce, who was part of Rittenhouse’s defense team until mid-January 2021, signed an affidavit filed Wednesday saying due to the numerous death threats “arrangements were made for the Rittenhouse family to reside at a ‘Safe House’ in an unidentified location,” once bail was posted.
Pierce wrote he personally went to the Kenosha County Public Safety Building to post cash bond for Rittenhouse on November 20, 2020, and coordinated Rittenhouse’s release from custody with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office “several days prior to actually posting his bond.”
Pierce claims when processing Rittenhouse’s release forms, a Kenosha Police captain told him he “‘absolutely should not’ provide the address of the Rittenhouse Safe House on the form, but to instead provide his home address in Antioch, Illinois.” CNN attempted to contact the Police captain named in the court documents but has not gotten a response.
Kenosha Police officials said in a statement Thursday the captain Pierce said he spoke to was a lieutenant at the time and that he “was on a regularly scheduled day off and had no contact with Mr. Pierce.”
They said Pierce spoke to another person.
“A Kenosha Police Captain did have a brief conversation with Mr. Pierce, regarding security concerns raised by Mr. Pierce, surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse release from custody. The conversation did not include instructions about how to fill out paperwork,” police officials said.
Pierce no longer has any professional affiliation with Kyle Rittenhouse, according to his signed affidavit.
Attorneys for Rittenhouse also filed an e-mail exchange with Kenosha County prosecutors dating back to November 30, 2020, in which they write, “Mr. Rittenhouse will need to update the court on a change of address, because of security concerns, we would like to keep that information away from the general public. I wanted to know if you would agree to allow the filing of the change of address with the court under seal?”
The e-mail response was also included in the filing, the response coming from Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger. He wrote on November 30th, “Wisconsin has a proud history of open records and government transparency, and I am reluctant to make an exception to the normal practices.” He continued, “Unless you can provide me with a specific, tangible and imminent threat (or threats) that would justify secrecy in this case, I am not willing to agree to redact your client’s address from the public record.”
According to Kenosha County prosecutors, the address that was listed was signed for on bond paperwork as recently as January 22, 2021, and the Rittenhouse team “failed to correct it.” Judge Bruce Schroeder has yet to rule on these filings.
Kenosha County prosecutors had previously sought to modify Kyle Rittenhouse’s bond conditions after he was seen at a bar with other individuals flashing “the ‘OK’ sign, which has been co-opted as a sign of ‘white power’ by known white supremacist groups,” and was “directly served a beer by the bartender,” according to a motion filed last month.
In Wisconsin, where the bar is located, it is not illegal for minors to be served alcohol if a parent is present. Rittenhouse did not object to the modifications, according to his attorney. According to prosecutors, Rittenhouse was seen at a local bar with his mother about 90 minutes after the arraignment, and his presence and behavior were confirmed by surveillance video.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is alleged to have been in the midst of protests that had broken out in the Wisconsin city over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and authorities allege he fired at protesters.
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court on March 10 with jury selection set to begin on March 29.