Attorneys allege Kenosha shooter Rittenhouse evading them
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attorneys for a man shot and injured by Kyle Rittenhouse during a protest in 2020 are asking a federal judge to give them more time to serve Rittenhouse with a civil lawsuit, alleging that he is purposefully trying to evade them.
Attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz filed the request on Wednesday, the deadline that U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman had given them to serve the lawsuit on Rittenhouse and the other defendants. Grosskreutz added Rittenhouse as a defendant last week in the lawsuit that also targets the city of Kenosha and local officials.
The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2021, accuses Rittenhouse and other defendants, including a host of local law enforcement agencies, of causing the injuries that Grosskreutz suffered that night. It is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed by the father of Anthony Huber, one of two men Rittenhouse shot and killed that night.
Rittenhouse was charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering for killing Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounding Grosskreutz with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in the summer of 2020 during a tumultuous night of protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in November 2021 after testifying he acted in self-defense. Rittenhouse’s actions became a flashpoint in the debate over guns, vigilantism and racial injustice in the U.S. He was 17 at the time of the shootings and is now 20.
An attorney for Grosskreutz said in a legal filing Wednesday that all of the other defendants, except for Rittenhouse, have accepted and waived service of the lawsuit. Rittenhouse's attorney in the Huber lawsuit said he was not authorized to accept service and a person believed to be Rittenhouse's mother who answered the door at a home in Florida said “Rittenhouse had been gone for a while,” according to the filing.
Grosskreutz “is currently unaware of Mr. Rittenhouse's current whereabouts and is concerned that Mr. Rittenhouse is attempting to evade service,” according to the filing seeking a 60-day extension to serve him.
Rittenhouse last week changed attorneys for the Huber lawsuit, going back to one of his defense attorneys from the trial, Mark Richards. Richards said Thursday that he does not represent Rittenhouse in the Grosskreutz lawsuit.
Richards also said he does not know where Rittenhouse is.
“I don't know how to find Kyle,” Richards said. “I do not currently know where Kyle is.”
Adelman, in the Huber lawsuit, earlier this month denied a motion by Rittenhouse and other defendants seeking to dismiss the case. The judge said in that case that Huber’s death “could plausibly be regarded as having been proximately caused by the actions of the governmental defendants.”
Attorneys and private investigators for Huber's father spent over 100 hours trying to locate Rittenhouse, tracking down addresses in seven states before they found the home of his mother and sister in Florida. The lawsuit was served on Rittenhouse’s sister, who said that he wasn’t home. Adelman said that was sufficient to qualify as being served in the Huber case.
Rittenhouse's attorneys had argued that the Huber case against him should be dismissed because Rittenhouse wasn’t properly served with the lawsuit. Adelman dismissed that, saying that Rittenhouse “is almost certainly evading service.”
“Rittenhouse has been deliberately cagey about his whereabouts,” Adelman wrote earlier this month. “Although he denies living in Florida, he does not identify the place that he deems to be his residence.”
In 2020, Rittenhouse went to Kenosha from his home in nearby Antioch, Illinois, after businesses were ransacked and burned in the nights that followed Blake’s shooting. He joined other armed civilians on the streets, carrying a weapon authorities said was illegally purchased for him because he was underage.
Rittenhouse first killed Rosenbaum, 36, in the parking lot of an auto dealership and as Rittenhouse ran from the scene he stumbled and fell. Huber, 26, struck Rittenhouse with his skateboard and tried to disarm him. Rittenhouse fell to the ground and shot Huber to death and wounded demonstrator Grosskreutz, who was 27 at the time.
Rittenhouse has maintained a high public profile, particularly on social media, where he is an outspoken advocate for gun rights. He has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter and has spoken at conservative gatherings.
He tweeted a fundraising plea this week in reference to the Grosskreutz lawsuit, saying: "This lawsuit is an attempt to drown anyone who legally and justifiably defends there lives from attackers in a mountain of legal debt. We can not let them win. If they can come after me they will come after you.”
Grosskreutz, who testified at the trial, last year sought to change his legal name because of what he now says was continued harassment related to the case.
Scott Bauer, The Associated Press