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Legal defence fund for Kyle Rittenhouse raised nearly $500k in three months, report claims

·3-min read
Kyle Rittenhouse has received nearly half a million dollars in legal funds from supporters (REUTERS)
Kyle Rittenhouse has received nearly half a million dollars in legal funds from supporters (REUTERS)

Kyle Rittenhouse’s online crowdfunder for his legal defence has collected nearly half a million dollars in three months, according to reports on social media.

The donation page has raised $464,111 since the beginning of March as he stands indicted on six criminal charges for allegedly opening fire in Kenosha, Wisconsin during a Black Lives Matter protest, which led to the deaths of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and injured Gaige Grosskreutz on 23 August 2020.

The charges include first degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and a misdeamour charge of an underage firearm possession.

One section of the crowdfunder operates under the name Free Kyle USA. A Twitter account by the name of @freekyleusa has been established in connection, and is believed to be run by Mr Rittenhouse’s mother Wendy.

“#KyleRittenhouse and Wendy want to thank everyone for your support and assistance for the past ten months. We’ve been fighting hard every day to correct the misinformation surrounding Kyle and preparing for the upcoming trial. Your assistance has been critical,” a tweet read.

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His case has become a focal point in the national gun debate. The Free Kyle USA website argues: “The right of self-defense is on trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

This is a position often evoked by the Rittenhouses. On 1 June, the Free Kyle USA Twitter account tweeted: “#KyleRittenhouse defended his life against aggression on August 25, 2020. He will be defending his life again at trial beginning on November 1, 2021. The prosecution would have you believe race had something to do with it. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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Others have agreed with this, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who called the 18 year old “an innocent child” on social media.

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“I believe Kyle Rittenhouse is an innocent child. I believe he acted in self defense against anarchist criminal thugs who were attacking him and trying to kill him. I’m fed up with the media & the left defending riots, anarchy, and insurrection. Soon I’ll be in Congress. Enough.”

Mr Rittenhouse was participating in what some believed to be a “militia” following the unrest prompted in Kenosha by the police killing Jacob Blake, a Black man. The officer who shot Mr Blake, Rusten Shesky, did not face charges in the incident.

Mr Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued that he“answered his patriotic and civic duty to serve nearby Kenosha, Wis., during a destructive insurrection.”

Wisconsin has an open carry law, but the action of Mr Rittenhouse and the group he was a part was condemned by Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.

Footage emerged of Mr Rittenhouse arguing with protesters, and waving his firearm at them. Following the shooting, he was caught on video saying on the phone, “I just killed somebody.”

The trial was supposed to commence in March, however both sides requested more time to prepare. It is due to start on 1 November.

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