A failure to provide an updated address led the Kenosha County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday to seek an increase in Kyle Rittenhouse's bond. However, Rittenhouse's defense team — led by Racine attorney Mark Richards — is arguing that the "Safe House" where the teen is staying should not be disclosed for his own safety, citing threats made against him.
Request to increase bond
According to court documents, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorneys Thomas C. Binger and Jason R. Zapf filed the motion to increase bond before Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce E. Schroeder.
The motion asks for an arrest warrant to be issued for Rittenhouse, charged in two homicides and another man who was shot civil unrest Aug. 25, along with an additional bond of $200,000.
After his initial arrest, Rittenhouse was held in custody until he posted a $2 million bond Nov. 20. The motion states the bond listed his address as an apartment in Antioch, Ill., and specifically required him to "give written notice to the Clerk of this Court within 48 hours of any change of address or telephone number."
The motion further states that, on Dec. 22, the clerk mailed a notice to the defendant at that address, and that notice was returned as unclaimed Jan. 28.
On the notice, the United State Postal Service indicated that service was "attempted not known" and they were unable to forward. Two Kenosha Police detectives traveled to Antioch on Tuesday, and spoke to a man who said he had lived there since Dec. 14 on a rental lease that began the following day.
The man produced a utility bill with his name on it and stated the defendant no longer lived there.
Keeping tabs on Rittenhouse while his case proceeds through the system is paramount, the motion states.
"In a criminal case as serious as this one, it is critically important that the court be able to monitor the defendant's whereabouts at all times," the motion states. "After all, it is extremely unusual for a defendant facing a charge of first-degree intentional homicide in Kenosha County to post cash bond and be released from custody pending trial.
"Rarely does our community see accused murderers roaming about freely."
The motion also points to the GoFundMe effort that raised the cash used to bail out Rittenhouse, along with what it considers "his carefree attitude by going to a bar immediately after his arraignment on Jan. 5, 2021, and drinking three beers in the company of known 'Proud Boys' while flashing white supremacist signs and wearing a 'Free as (expletive)' shirt."
"The defendant is free from custody with minimal incentive to comply with his bond conditions," the motion states. "He posted no money, so he has no financial stake in the bond. He is already facing the most serious possible criminal charges and life in prison, so in comparison, potential future criminal penalties are insignificant."
Richards, Rittenhouse's attorney, argued in his motion that Rittenhouse and his family have received threats in various forms, the most recent of which came on Jan. 25. When Rittenhouse was released from jail in November, police told defense attorneys not to provide the safe house address, Richards said.
An attorney working with Richards, Corey Chirafisi, asked Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger via email on Nov. 30 if he could keep the safe house address sealed but Binger refused, according to Richards' motion.
“It is noteworthy that the State has only now decided to file a motion to increase bond in this case, despite having corresponded with Attorney Chirafisi regarding the change in Kyle’s residence over two months ago,” Richards wrote.
Richards stressed that Rittenhouse has made all his court appearances and is in constant contact with him. He provided the safe house address to the judge as part of a separate motion requesting it be sealed.
According to a report from the outlet Law & Crime, Rittenhouse's civil attorney John Pierce wrote in a court filing Wednesday that, "Due to the threats made against Kyle, I was concerned for his immediate safety while transitioning out of police custody ... Because of these concerns, I coordinated Kyle's release from custody with Captain Bill Beth of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office several days prior to actually posting his bond."
Then, Pierce wrote that as he was filling out a form upon Rittenhouse's release, a Kenosha Police Department captain, whose name was not included, told Pierce that he "absolutely should not" write down where Rittenhouse would be staying because of safety concerns and instead should put down his home address in Antioch.
Court records show that Rittenhouse is due back in court for a final pre-trial hearing March 10. He is charged in the Aug. 25 deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum of Kenosha and Anthony Huber of Silver Lake and for shooting and seriously injuring Gaige Grosskreutz of West Allis during the Kenosha shootings. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty, arguing he filed in self-defense.
A check of Kenosha County Jail records late Wednesday afternoon did not show that Rittenhouse had been taken into custody on the warrant.