KENOSHA, Wis. (CN) — The trial of an 18-year-old charged with shooting three and killing two at a protest in Wisconsin last summer was delayed until November on Wednesday.
The state's attorney and counsel for Kyle Rittenhouse agreed that more time was needed to conduct discovery in the closely watched case. The parties will next meet before Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder for a status conference on May 17 ahead of the new trial date slated for Nov. 1.
Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told Schroeder at the top of Wednesday's hearing that he and Rittenhouse's lawyers decided after off-the-record conversations that they would not be ready for the original jury selection date of March 29.
Binger mentioned there were areas of discovery, particularly related to DNA issues, that still needed to be ironed out. The state's attorney did not immediately respond to an email on Wednesday requesting clarification on what discovery issues, DNA-related or otherwise, remained in the case.
Rittenhouse appeared via Zoom with his Racine-based attorney Mark Richards on Wednesday. Schroeder asked him if he had any problem with delaying his trial, considering it will now start more than a year after the crimes he is charged with.
"No, your honor," Rittenhouse said.
Prosecutors say Rittenhouse, then 17, crossed state lines from his home in Antioch, Illinois, and shot protesters Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum with an AR-15 he got from a friend in Wisconsin just before midnight on Aug. 25. The three were engaged in protests that raged for several days after a white Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times while responding to a domestic disturbance.
Rosenbaum, 36, and Huber, 26, were killed in the protests while 26-year-old Grosskreutz – who appeared on Wednesday with his lawyer, civil rights attorney Kimberly Motley – survived a gunshot wound to his right bicep. Blake survived the police shooting two days earlier but was left partly paralyzed.
Dozens of cars and businesses were torched during the week of unrest in Kenosha in August. Rittenhouse reportedly joined the fray to protect life and property as a self-styled vigilante on the night of the shootings.
Rittenhouse's defense – which once included prominent counsel like Los Angeles civil attorney John Pierce and Atlanta-based defamation lawyer L. Lin Wood – has maintained he fired in self-defense. The teen is charged with five felonies including intentional and reckless homicide and could face life in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Rittenhouse posted his $2 million bail in November thanks to right-wing fundraising efforts and remains free ahead of his trial. Prosecutors wanted him re-arrested in mid-February and his bail raised to $200,000 for failing to provide the court with his current address. Schroeder denied that motion but required Rittenhouse to give the court an updated address under seal.
That wasn't the first dust-up in the high-profile case. In January, Schroeder modified Rittenhouse's bond at prosecutors' request after footage emerged of the 18-year-old drinking and fraternizing with admiring patrons and his mother at a Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, bar and flashing the "OK" hand signal, which has been co-opted by some white supremacists, hours after his arraignment. The judge ordered Rittenhouse not to possess or consume alcohol and refrain from knowingly associating with any known militias or hate groups, among other conditions.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced on Jan. 5 – the same day as Rittenhouse's arraignment and siting at Pudgy's Pub in Mount Pleasant – that no charges would be brought against Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Blake, or the two other officers on the scene at the time.
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