Extradition fight continues in Kenosha protest shootings

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In this screen grab from live stream video, Kyle Rittenhouse appears via video during a hearing at the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Waukegan, Ill., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two protesters days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis., is fighting his return to Wisconsin to face homicide charges. (Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court via AP)

CHICAGO – A 17-year-old accused of killing two protesters days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, remains in custody in his home state of Illinois as his attorneys fight efforts to send him to Wisconsin to stand trial on homicide charges.

Kyle Rittenhouse appeared on streaming video and wore a face mask during a brief court hearing Friday in Lake County, Illinois. 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.”

In court records filed late Thursday, Rittenhouse's attorneys argued that he was acting in self-defense and extraditing him to Wisconsin would violate his constitutional rights.

They also argued that Wisconsin prosecutors and Illinois authorities didn’t follow legal technicalities required for extradition. Angelina Gabriele, Kenosha County's deputy district attorney, said Friday the county's documents “are in compliance with all legal requirements and their other claims do not have any legal merit.”

Extradition is typically a straightforward process, and legal experts have expressed doubt that Rittenhouse’s attorneys could successfully prevent a court from sending him to Wisconsin to face charges there.