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 fatally shot 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 protest for racial justice, killing Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. He was acquitted on all counts 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 with a copy of the complaint and failed to show that he conspired with law enforcement and other individuals to inflict violence on protesters on the basis of their race.

“We disagree that Mr. Huber has stated any plausible claims against Kyle,” Shane P. Martin, a lawyer for Rittenhouse, told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday. “Although this ruling allows the case to proceed for now, it does not change the facts. … There simply was no conspiracy between Kyle and the Kenosha police to single out Anthony Huber, and as one 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 homicide, interacting with law enforcement before and after the shootings. (Video: Elyse Samuels, Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

Rittenhouse appeared in Kenosha’s streets 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 brief confrontations, Rittenhouse shot and killed 36-year-old Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Huber. He also shot and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, then 26. Rittenhouse, who maintained he acted in self-defense, had faced a potential life sentence if convicted.

Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted on all counts in polarizing Kenosha homicide trial

“[Yesterday’s] ruling puts Anthony’s family one step closer to justice for their son’s needless death,” Anand Swaminathan, a lawyer representing Huber’s father, said in an email to The Post. “The lawsuit will proceed to discovery, allowing full transparency into the events of that fateful and tragic evening.”

Huber’s suit 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 the county of Kenosha.

Lawyers for the law enforcement and government officials who were sued did not immediately respond to 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 received the court documents, and his mother live.

In his decision Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote that Huber’s attorneys have made extensive efforts to find Rittenhouse’s permanent residence to serve him the court documents while Rittenhouse was “deliberately cagey about his whereabouts.”

Huber “engaged three professional investigators who have spent more than 100 hours searching for Rittenhouse all over the country,” Adelman wrote. “Rittenhouse, in contrast, is almost certainly evading service.”

He also declined the defense’s claim that Huber’s attorneys did not properly allege Rittenhouse conspired with law enforcement on the evening of the protests.

There were celebrations and skirmishes outside the county courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Nov. 19 as Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all counts. (Video: James Cornsilk, Laura Dyan Kezman/The Washington Post, Photo: Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)

Although some may find the conspiracy allegation “hard 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 his allegations.”

“As long as the facts alleged by the plaintiff are not fantastic or delusional, the court must accept them as true,” Adelman wrote. “Deciding whether the allegations are true or false comes later in the case, after all sides have had a chance to present their evidence.”

Mark Guarino, Kim Bellware and Mark Berman contributed to this report.

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