The mother of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of killing two protesters amid unrest sparked by the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has spoken about her son’s situation and her fears of mob retribution.
As the teenager fights extradition to Wisconsin from his home state of Illinois, his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, told Fox News that she has taken a leave of absence from her nursing home job and that she and her two daughters have fled their home to an undisclosed location amid worries about mob justice.
“We can’t even go back home. We don’t even have a home because the fear of them breaking in my house, killing my daughters, killing me, and if Kyle was there, to kill him,” she said.
Kyle Rittenhouse made a court appearance on Friday morning as his lawyers fought his extradition. Court papers filed on Thursday argued that moving Rittenhouse to Wisconsin “would be to turn him over to the mob.”
The teenager has been charged with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, for the shootings that left two people dead and a third injured.
Judge Paul Novak scheduled an Oct. 30 hearing on the extradition request, though prosecutors told Novak they were prepared to move faster.
“The law is pretty clear cut on this,” Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller said. “This case has been dragging on now, we’re already into October. … We want a hearing as soon as possible.”
John Pierce, an attorney for Rittenhouse, said there was “no reason to rush” and questioned Wisconsin prosecutors’ motivation for pursuing the charges.
“This is a very unique, extraordinary situation,” Pierce said. “There is a massive amount of video evidence that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt this is not a legitimate criminal prosecution, it is a political prosecution.”
Pierce told Fox News before Friday’s hearing that he was “extremely concerned” for Rittenhouse’s safety in light of threats “that have been made to him, to his family, to his lawyers.”
“Adding to that concern is the fact that a former vice president of the United States and a sitting United States senator who are running for president in what is arguably the most heated presidential election, perhaps in American history … has now chosen to use him as a political pawn to suggest falsely that he is a white supremacist,” Pierce told the outlet. “And to suggest falsely that he is one of the people that is responsible for the arson, looting, and insurrection in Kenosha and Portland.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden shared a video last month which apparently sought to portray President Donald Trump as being in sympathy with white supremacists and in which Rittenhouse’s image appears at around the 13-second mark.
Rittenhouse’s mother told Fox News of her reaction to viewing the video.
“I am angry. My son is not a white supremacist. He is not a racist. He is not in no militia,” she said. “Former Vice President Biden, how dare [he] use my son for a political ad for his campaign.”
Lin Wood, a lawyer representing Rittenhouse’s family, has called for the Biden campaign to delete the video from the internet, issue a retraction, and apologize, and in a tweet threatened to sue the campaign for libel.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys have argued he was acting in self-defense and extraditing him to Wisconsin would violate his constitutional rights. According to prosecutors and court documents, Rittenhouse shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, of Kenosha, after Rosenbaum tried to wrestle his rifle away.
According to the complaint filed by prosecutors, someone in the crowd said, “Beat him up!” and another yelled, “Get him! Get that dude!” Video shows that 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. Rittenhouse opened fire, killing Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, of West Allis, who was holding a handgun.
The day after the incident, Rittenhouse surrendered to police in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.