Kyle Rittenhouse: Victim’s father’s wrongful-death lawsuit can proceed
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A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the father of a man shot to death by Kyle Rittenhouse during protests in Kenosha, Wis., can move forward, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled Wednesday.
Rittenhouse shot three men at an August 2020 racial justice protest, killing Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. He was acquitted of all charges by a jury in 2021, but Huber’s father, John Huber, filed a civil suit over his son’s death.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys had sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Huber’s attorneys failed to properly serve him a copy of the complaint and failed to show that he conspired with law enforcement and other individuals to cause violence against protesters based on their race.
“We disagree that Mr. Huber has stated any credible allegations against Kyle,” Shane P. Martin, an attorney for Rittenhouse, told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday. “Although this ruling allows the case to continue for now, it does not change the facts. … There was simply no conspiracy between Kyle and the Kenosha police to single out Anthony Huber, and as a jury has already found, Kyle’s actions that night were not wrongful and were taken in self-defense.”
Videos from Aug. 25 show Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with first-degree murder, interacting with law enforcement before and after the shooting. (Video: Elyse Samuels, Allie Caren/The Washington Post)
Rittenhouse appeared on the streets of Kenosha with an AR-style rifle in August 2020 saying he wanted to help protect businesses amid the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake. But during the brief confrontation, Rittenhouse shot and killed Rosenbaum, 36, and Huber, 26. He also shot and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, then 26. Rittenhouse, who claimed he acted in self-defense, faced a possible life sentence if convicted.
Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the polarizing Kenosha murder trial
“[Yesterday’s] the decision puts Anthony’s family one step closer to justice for their son’s unnecessary death,” Anand Swaminathan, an attorney representing Huber’s father, said in an email to The Post. “The lawsuit will continue until discovery, allowing full transparency into the events of that fateful and tragic evening.”
Huber’s lawsuit names Rittenhouse, Kenosha County Sheriff David G. Beth, former Kenosha Police Department Chief Daniel G. Miskinis, Acting Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen, the City of Kenosha and Kenosha County.
Attorneys for the law enforcement agencies and government officials who were sued did not immediately return messages from The Post seeking comment.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that he was not properly served because he does not live in the Florida residence where his sister, who answered the door and obtained the court documents, and his mother live.
In his ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote that Huber’s attorneys have made extensive efforts to locate Rittenhouse’s permanent residence in order to serve him with court documents, while Rittenhouse was “intentionally vague about the whereabouts his”.
Huber “engaged three professional investigators who have spent more than 100 hours searching for Rittenhouse across the country,” Adelman wrote. “Rittenhouse, by contrast, is almost certainly avoiding service.”
He also dismissed the defense’s contention that Huber’s lawyers did not properly allege Rittenhouse conspired with law enforcement on the night of the protests.
There were celebrations and brawls outside the county courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Nov. 19 after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. (Video: James Cornsilk, Laura Dyan Kezman/The Washington Post, Photo: Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)
Although some may find the conspiracy claim “difficult to believe,” Adelman wrote, this is not the time for the court to “weigh the evidence” or “decide whether the plaintiff is likely to be able to prove the allegations his”.
“As long as the facts alleged by the plaintiff are not fantastic or delusional, the court must accept them as true,” Adelman wrote. “The determination of whether the allegations are true or false comes later in the case, after all parties have had an opportunity to present their evidence.”
Mark Guarino, Kim Bellware and Mark Berman contributed to this report.