The family of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of killing two rioters and wounding a third during last summer’s violent BLM protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has publicly expressed concerns about the millions of dollars raised to pay his legal defense expenses.
Kyle’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, claimed that Attorney John Pierce, who founded the Texas-based nonprofit #FightBack Foundation, whose mission is to generate public support and crowdsourcing for lawsuits in support of conservative causes, offered their services to the family.
Instead, his mother claimed in a lengthy New Yorker article that Pierce exploited the family to help bail himself out of deep financial difficulty.
Images of the then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse made national headlines when throngs of violent protesters took the streets of Kenosha in the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting of a black man, who allegedly confronted police.
On the second night of the riots, Rittenhouse, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and helping a friend watch over local businesses under siege by violent BLM and Antifa rioters.
As the rioters closed in around the businesses, Rittenhouse ventured out and was confronted by an angry mob that pursued him through the streets.
During the confrontation, Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, as they attacked the teen, and seriously wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, who was armed.
Rittenhouse, who the mainstream media dubbed “the Kenosha Shooter” and liberal Democrats called a white supremacist, turned himself in to police hours after the shooting.
When he goes to trial later this year he will face charges of first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree homicide and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
After turning himself in to police, Rittenhouse remained in jail until Nov. 20, when he was able to post the $2 million bail raised through #FightBack.
Wendy Rittenhouse said attorney Lin Wood, who assumed leadership of the #FightBack Foundation in September, was also in on the scheme to leave Kyle in jail, and that the $2 million bail had already been raised before the end of October.
Rittenhouse said when she realized there was enough money raised to meet the bond requirements, she told Wood that Kyle needed to come home, but Wood insisted Kyle would be safer in jail.
“They used Kyle to gain money, gain Twitter followers. I felt now they didn’t care about Kyle,” she said during an interview with Law and Crime’s Objections podcast in March.
Rittenhouse’s family, who fled their home in Antioch, Illinois last year, disassociated themselves from the #FightBack Foundation and launched the Free Kyle website, to raise money toward legal fees.
The Rittenhouses also fired Pierce earlier this year and ended their tumultuous relationship with Wood.
The trial is set to begin on November 1, and Rittenhouse, who is being tried as an adult, is now represented by criminal defense attorney Mark Richards.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him, and could spend the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted.
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