While Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for killing two people in a Wisconsin Kenosha demonstration at the Black Lives Matter this summer, his lawyers are on the crosshairs of prosecutors.
From the beginning of the far-reaching case, Rittenhouse’s lawyers have attracted almost as much attention as he has. Now, his 17-year-old young lawyer, John Pierce, is not in the case after prosecutors argued that Rittenhouse’s fundraisers could act as a “Latin foundation” for the sloppy lawyer. Another prominent lawyer associated with Rittenhouse, Lin Wood, also appears to have turned away from the case in order to focus his efforts on overthrowing President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss.
Rittenhouse was charged with reckless homicide after two people were killed and a third person wounded in a protest in August. He did not plead guilty and says he acted in self-defense.
Shortly after his arrest, Pierce and Wood appeared as Rittenhouse champions. Earlier this year, the couple teamed up to launch the “#FightBack” foundation, an organization with foggy missions, and many of them are apparently debating right-wing grievances with the media. Some of the foundation’s funds were diverted to Pierce’s own law firm.
# The launch of FightBack came at a lucky moment for Pierce. The law firm he runs has been sued by at least four payday lenders and a legal services company this year, all citing unpaid bills, The Daily Beast wrote earlier. In April, another creditor accused the company of owing them $ 65 million. The debts, as well as Pierce’s indefinite rehabilitation period earlier this year, are compatible with Pierce’s recent emigration of more than 60 lawyers.
Pierce and Wood advertised the #FightBack Foundation that Rittenhouse fans – many of whom are on the right – could donate money to protect it. But in Thursday’s court appearance, prosecutors argued that the cash flow could act as a “slush fund” to pay off Pierce’s debts.
Pierce had no income and a monthly cost of $ 49,481, prosecutors say. He also received about $ 1.2 million in debt and was sued for allegedly violating the $ 1.3 million house lease.
“This will create a potential conflict of interest for Pierce’s lawyer,” the motion reads as reported. TShe Chicago Tribune. “Given its own significant personal debts, participating in an unregulated and opaque“ slush fund ”offers ample opportunity for self-trade and fraud. The more the Foundation collects in donations, the more you can personally benefit from it. The money to be kept in the defendant’s trust can instead be used to repay many of Pierce’s attorneys’ creditors. “
Pierce denied these allegations in an email to The Daily Beast. “The accusations you make are ridiculous,” he wrote. “All the money is checked by Kyle’s mother, Wendy.” Furthermore, I have nothing to do with this foundation. ”(In fact, Pierce was in touch with # FightBack until September, when he stepped back the day after the Daily Beast report and revealed his contribution to his law firm.)
Prosecutors also claimed that Pierce violated the rules of attorney conduct, accusing him of potentially influencing jurors of the future with complaints from the district attorney overseeing the case. On Twitter, Pierce provoked anger against District Attorney Michael Graveley, claiming to be “communicating with the BLM chief activist in an active (and strangely familiar) SMS for six weeks before, during and after the riots”.
Pierce and Rittenhouse’s other attorney, Andrew Calderon, announced Thursday that they will retire from the case shortly after prosecutors filed a motion for them.
Pierce told the Daily Beast that the withdrawal was “always the plan”.
“Now that we have successfully evacuated Kyle and set up an amazing criminal defense team in Wisconsin,” he said, “I am turning my attention to preparing for Kyle’s defamation and other civil law claims and organizing our new fundraiser. efforts to ensure that they have the resources to get through the trial.
However, these fundraising efforts may remain unchanged as the #FightBack Foundation turns its attention away from Rittenhouse and turns its attention to overturning Trump’s 2020 loss.
“For the foreseeable future, #FightBack will focus on detecting fraud in the Nov. 3 election,” Wood tweeted last week. (He is currently involved in long-running lawsuits challenging the election results and used false theories of voter fraud at a press conference this week.) with. . “
Neither Wood nor Pierce answered questions on Friday about Pierce’s relationship with fundraising, as he is no longer Rittenhouse’s attorney.
Wood’s tweet also indicated he was stepping away from Rittenhouse’s case. “Lin withdrew from Kyle’s representation,” Pierce confirmed to The Daily Beast.
Since Wood, who handles mostly defamation cases, has never been officially Rittenhouse’s criminal attorney, his exact relationship with Rittenhouse’s legal team is unclear.
“I’m not and have never been a criminal lawyer with Kyle.” I am a civil lawyer. Wood told The Daily Beast. He added that Pierce is no longer linked to #FightBack, which prosecutors say was a potential Pierce slush fund.
“John Pierce has nothing to do with my foundation,” Wood said. “I understand that Mark Richards is Kyle, a Wisconsin criminal lawyer.”
Richards, a Wisconsin-based Racine attorney, confirmed that neither of the other two attorneys represents Rittenhouse in the homicide case.
“I represent Kyle in criminal cases. Drilling the bag and the wood is not,” The Daily Beast wrote in an email. “We are very grateful for the support of both individuals, the foundation and donating people.” [sic]