A Wisconsin judge on Wednesday delayed the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with fatally shooting Black Lives Matters protesters in Kenosha last summer.
Prosecutors as well as Rittenhouse’s defense attorneys had asked for the postponement, arguing they needed more time to build their respective cases. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder also set a meeting for May, to ensure that the new timeline still works for the two legal teams.
Rittenhouse is charged with killing Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and seriously wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, during protests on Aug. 25, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed.
Rittenhouse, 18, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, saying the shootings — which were captured by cell phone video — were acts of self-defense. He has been out on bail since November, when his $2 million bond was paid by conservative fundraisers.
His cause has garnered widespread support from conservative Second Amendment advocates — including, former President Donald Trump — who seek to paint Rittenhouse as a young champion of the Blue Lives Matter movement and a patriot. (Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shootings.)
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter supporters say Rittenhouse, who was reportedly driven to the protest across state lines from Illinois by his mother, as a white vigilante, intent on stoking racial violence.
Months after his release, Rittenhouse was spotted in a Wisconsin bar with possible members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group that federal prosecutors say played a critical role in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
In February, Schroeder refused to issue a new arrest warrant or increase Rittenhouse’s bail, after he failed to update his current address with the court. But he did prohibit the shooter from associating with white supremacists.
On Wednesday, Rittenhouse’s lawyers said they needed extra time to finish up a public opinion poll “to get a feel for whether Rittenhouse can expect to get a fair trial in the county, or if there might be reason to seek a change of venue or a jury pool from another county,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.