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Kyle Rittenhouse due in Lake County court Friday for hearing on potential return to Kenosha to face charges stemming from protest shootings

Kyle Rittenhouse is scheduled to be in Lake County court Friday morning for a hearing over whether he will be sent to Wisconsin to face charges stemming from the fatal shooting of two men and the wounding of a third during protests in Kenosha in August.

Lawyers for the Antioch 17-year-old have indicated they plan to call the teen’s mother to the stand as they fight prosecutors' efforts to extradite him to Kenosha County, where he is charged with murder and several other counts. His lawyers have argued in part that he’d be in danger if he were moved from the juvenile detention center in Lake County to an adult jail over the border.

In this screen grab from livestream video, Kyle Rittenhouse appears via video during a hearing at Lake County court in Waukegan on Oct. 9, 2020.

In this screen grab from livestream video, Kyle Rittenhouse appears via video during a hearing at Lake County court in Waukegan on Oct. 9, 2020. (Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Cour / AP)

Judge Paul Novak is expected to hear arguments at 9 a.m. Friday, though he has not said when he plans to rule. Unlike prior hearings in Rittenhouse’s extradition case that were conducted online, the judge plans to hold this one in person.

Video from the scene of the protests showed Rittenhouse apparently trying to surrender to police in Kenosha after the shootings but they didn’t arrest him. He was arrested the next day in Lake County and has been held without bail in the juvenile facility for two months.

Extradition proceedings typically are technical matters that don’t focus on the substance of the alleged crimes, but Rittenhouse’s lawyers have tried to block his transfer by arguing he fired in self-defense and is the target of a political prosecution. A list of potential witnesses at Friday’s hearing submitted by his lawyers indicates that they plan to continue arguing those points. The list includes former detectives expected to testify about the “apparent lack of investigation” into the shootings, as well a “self-defense expert who will testify about the lack of probable cause to support a criminal prosecution.”

The teen’s lawyers indicated they might call his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, to testify “regarding the circumstances of his arrest.”

Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued in a petition filed earlier this month that extradition would violate his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search or seizure, contending that the video shows “without a shadow of a doubt” he shot in self-defense. The filing also argued that sending Rittenhouse to Wisconsin would violate his 14th Amendment due process rights because he would face a “legion of hazards” if put in adult jail. The petition also contended there are technical problems with the arrest and charging documents.

Lake County prosecutors rejected the constitutional arguments, writing that they should be raised in Wisconsin, not Illinois. Prosecutors wrote that Rittenhouse’s attorneys had used their filing to “insert irrelevant and inflammatory ‘facts’ which are solely meant to sway sympathy and public opinion through the media in favor of the defendant and that have no place in an extradition hearing.” The filing contended that the paperwork meets the requirements to extradite Rittenhouse.

Lawyers experienced in extradition cases have told the Tribune that Rittenhouse faces an uphill climb against extradition and even the judge finding problems with the paperwork wouldn’t likely end the prosecution, as authorities could correct the documents.

As they have battled Rittenhouse’s potential return to Wisconsin, his lawyers have promoted fundraising efforts for his legal defense. Conservatives and gun rights activists took up his cause almost immediately after the shootings, which happened as Rittenhouse and other heavily armed people inserted themselves into the protests that raged for several nights in Kenosha.

Kenosha County prosecutors have alleged that video from the night of the shootings showed the teen running across a parking lot, trailed by Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha. A witness told police that Rosenbaum, who appeared on video to be unarmed, had tried to grab the gun before he was fatally shot, prosecutors wrote.

The teen’s lawyers alleged in their petition fighting the extradition process that Rosenbaum threatened Rittenhouse, chased him and lunged for his gun. The teen fired “under grave risk of immediate harm,” the petition stated.

Rittenhouse ran before someone knocked off his hat, and he tripped and fell, prosecutors wrote. Then, Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, Wisconsin, approached with a skateboard and tried to grab the gun as the skateboard “(made) contact” with Rittenhouse’s shoulder, prosecutors wrote. The gunman then fired a shot that killed Huber, prosecutors alleged.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued in their filing that the skateboard hit the teen’s head and he shot Huber as they wrestled over the rifle.

Prosecutors wrote that Rittenhouse then shot Gaige Grosskreutz, of West Allis, Wisconsin. Grosskreutz appeared to be holding a handgun when he was wounded in the arm, prosecutors wrote.

The teen’s lawyers contended in their filing that Grosskreutz “lowered his handgun in Rittenhouse’s direction.”

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