Mother of U.S. teenager in Wisconsin shootings to testify at extradition hearing

(Reuters) - Lawyers for the teenager accused of fatally shooting two protesters and wounding a third are planning to elicit testimony from his mother and four experts in a bid to prevent his extradition to Wisconsin at a court hearing on Friday.

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide and five other criminal counts related to the shootings, which occurred on Aug. 25 in Kenosha, Wisconsin amid civil unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse returned to his home in Antioch, Illinois after that night and was soon after taken into custody in Lake County, Illinois. Since then, prosecutors in Wisconsin have sought to have him returned to Kenosha to face the charges.

Lawyers for Rittenhouse have alleged technical errors in the paperwork behind their client's detention in Illinois, portrayed him as a patriot who acted in self-defense, and said extraditing him to Wisconsin would "be to turn him over to the mob."

In their filing on Oct. 15, prosecutors for the Lake County State's Attorney's Office accused Rittenhouse's lawyers of injecting irrelevant pieces of information into their defense in the hopes of swaying public opinion. They argued that all the paperwork was in order and that the substance of the case should be litigated in the state where the alleged crimes took place.

"This is an extradition hearing. It bears repeating: an extradition hearing," the prosecutors wrote.

The mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, will testify to the circumstances of her son's arrest, while two former detectives will talk about "the apparent lack of investigation prior to the filing" of charges against him, according to a filing last week.

Also on the defense's witness list is Andrew Branca, a lawyer who specializes in self-defense cases and whose website reads: "Carry A Gun So You're Hard To Kill Know The Law So You're Hard To Convict."

Prosecutors said they did not intend to call any witnesses.

The extradition hearing is due to begin at 9:00 a.m. CDT (10:00 a.m. EDT). Unlike prior hearings, it will not be livestreamed.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Kim Coghill)

10/30/2020 10:41

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