Friend Who Bought Kyle Rittenhouse’s Gun Gets Reduced Charges
CHICAGO — Dominick Black, a friend of Kyle Rittenhouse who faced two felony charges for buying a rifle used by Mr. Rittenhouse, has agreed to plead no contest to lesser charges in a deal announced in a Wisconsin courtroom on Monday.
Mr. Black, 20, bought an AR-15-style rifle in May 2020 for Mr. Rittenhouse, who was then 17 and too young to buy the gun legally. Mr. Rittenhouse used the rifle when he killed two people and wounded a third during an altercation amid protests in Kenosha, Wis. Mr. Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of homicide and other charges after a trial in November, testified that he was acting in self-defense when he fired the weapon.
Mr. Black, who was a witness for the prosecution in Mr. Rittenhouse’s widely followed homicide trial, was initially charged with two counts of intent to sell a dangerous weapon to a minor, a felony. Under the agreement made public on Monday, Mr. Black agreed to plead no contest to a noncriminal county ordinance violation of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, his lawyer, Anthony Cotton, said during a brief hearing.
In the Kenosha courtroom where Mr. Rittenhouse’s trial took place, Judge Bruce Schroeder of Kenosha County Circuit Court accepted the plea agreement and imposed a fine of $2,000.
Thomas Binger, an assistant district attorney in Kenosha, said in court that he believed it was appropriate to dismiss the felony charges, given Mr. Black’s willingness to cooperate in the case, and to impose a fine.
“I believe that does serve as a form of punishment and a deterrence to anyone going forward into the future,” Mr. Binger said. “I do want to close by saying that I do believe that it is a serious offense to purchase a firearm for someone who is not legally able to do so. Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute those offenses. And it is still our office’s position that 17-year-olds should not go armed with firearms.”
During Mr. Rittenhouse’s trial, Mr. Black told the court that he bought the gun on a trip with Mr. Rittenhouse to northern Wisconsin, where Mr. Black’s family owned a hunting property, and stored it at his stepfather’s house in Kenosha for Mr. Rittenhouse. He said that on the day of the shooting in August 2020, as protests were unfolding in Kenosha, he and Mr. Rittenhouse brought their guns from Mr. Black’s stepfather’s house and drove downtown, where they cleaned graffiti and, at night, guarded used-car lots.
Mr. Black got to know Mr. Rittenhouse when he was dating McKenzie Rittenhouse, one of Mr. Rittenhouse’s sisters.
During the Rittenhouse trial, Judge Schroeder dismissed a misdemeanor gun possession charge that Mr. Rittenhouse was facing after defense lawyers argued that he did not violate the state statute in question because of his age and the length of the barrel of his semiautomatic rifle.
Since his acquittal late last year, Mr. Rittenhouse, 19, has given interviews to conservative media outlets, met with former President Donald J. Trump in Florida and expressed some regret for going to downtown Kenosha on the night of the shootings.