Rittenhouse lawyer: Defense donors none of state's business

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — An attorney for the Illinois teen accused of killing two men and wounding a third during a protest in Wisconsin last summer says he doesn't know who donated to his client's defense and therefore cannot produce any names.

Attorney Mark Richards was responding to a motion filed by prosecutors last week requesting a list of people who donated cash to help Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused in the shootings in Kenosha last summer.

Following Rittenhouse's arrest, conservatives who portrayed him as an American patriot contributed millions of dollars to his legal defense fund and enabled him to post $2 million bail.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said he needed to make sure people in the potential juror pool in Rittenhouse's trial aren’t among those donors.

Richards said in his response filed Monday that it's none of the state's business who pays him to defend Rittenhouse, and that Binger’s concern can be addressed during the jury selection process, when potential jurors can be questioned on whether they have donated to the defendant or bought merchandise from the family’s website, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in a story published Tuesday.

Prosecutors have no legal authority to demand such information from the defense, but there is nothing stopping them from issuing subpoenas to organizations that have raised money on behalf of Rittenhouse, Richards said.

Rittenhouse is charged with multiple counts, including homicide, in connection with the protests in August 2020 in Kenosha. The demonstrations began after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back during a domestic disturbance, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Prosecutors allege Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, responded to a militia’s call on social media to protect Kenosha businesses from protesters. He fired his rifle, hitting Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskruetz. Rosenbaum and Huber were killed; Grosskruetz was wounded but survived.

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has set a Sept. 17 hearing on the request and other pending motions.

Rittenhouse’s trial is scheduled to start Nov. 1.

The Associated Press

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