What Kyle Rittenhouse Lawyers Said about Proud Boys Allegations

Lawyers for Kyle Rittenhouse have dismissed a "thinly veiled attempt to inject the issue of race" into the double-murder trial of the Kenosha gunman after prosecutors linked the 18-year-old to the Proud Boys and white supremacy.

An affidavit filed by Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas C. Binge attempted to get the bond arrangement for Rittenhouse changed after he was spotted drinking at a bar soon after he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him on January 5.

Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and injuring one other during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha in August 2020. His defense team said the suspect, aged 17 at the time, attended the protests to protect the city and provide medical care to those injured during the unrest, following the shooting of Black man Jacob Blake by police.

The court documents state that while Rittenhouse was at Pudgy's Pub in Mount Pleasant with his mother and several other people, he was "serenaded" by a group of adults singing a song written for the 1992 Disney film Aladdin which the far-right Proud Boys group use as an "anthem and for self-identification."

The prosecutors also said that Rittenhouse posed for pictures at the bar while flashing the OK hand gesture—a previously innocuous symbol that has been co-opted by some on the far-right as a coded message to show support for white supremacy.

Binge applied in a state motion to have Rittenhouse's bond modified to state he is prohibited from consuming alcohol or being present in any establishment where alcohol is served, as well as associating himself with any "white power/white supremacist groups or organizations" such as the Proud Boys or making public displays of any "white power" signs.

Responding to the state motion, defense attorney Mark Richards said that Rittenhouse does not object to his bond being modified to prohibit him from drinking alcohol while denying he has any links to the Proud Boys or other far-right groups.

"The State has done an extensive search of all of Mr Rittenhouse's social media as part of its investigation in this case," Richards wrote. "Upon information and belief, no information linking Mr Rittenhouse to the listed organizations has been found.

"Additionally, the State has presented no evidence of Mr Rittenhouse visiting any of the listed organizations' websites.

"The State's bond motion is a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to interject the issue of race into a case that is about a person's right to self-defense."

Richards added that even though Rittenhouse has "no membership, affiliation, or affinity for any of the identified groups" in the motion, the defense has no objection to a bond modification prohibiting from having any knowing contact with any known hate groups or their members.

Police were made aware that Rittenhouse was at the bar on January 5 but ruled his presence did not violate the conditions of his $2 million bond. Under Wisconsin law, those aged 18 to 20 can legally drink with a parent or guardian.

Rittenhouse is accused of traveling from his hometown in Antioch, Illinois, and joining up with right-wing militia groups once in Kenosha before shooting Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum during the BLM protests.

While far-right armed groups were found to have actively encouraged violence at the Kenosha protest, Facebook previously confirmed that they found no evidence that Rittenhouse followed or was invited to any of the pages.

Rittenhouse's defense team has previously threatened to sue those who link him with white supremacy.

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse giving the 'OK' hand symbol while drinking a bar in Wisconsin following his not guilty plea on January 5. KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT