Kyle Rittenhouse’s family has accused his former attorney, John Pierce, of trying to divert funds for his own purposes. Now Rittenhouse’s current attorney is speaking openly to say that Pierce is still doing the same.
Rittenhouse is charged in the murder of two Black Lives Matter protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse, then only 17, traveled from his home in Illinois to the neighborhood, then ‘patrolling’ the protest with a rifle. After he was charged, the far-right took up his case, painting him as a heroic patriot protecting the streets. Now one of the people who jumped to his defense publicly is being accused of using the case, and the teenager (who is now a legal adult) for profit.
There’s a long backstory, but suffice it to say John Pierce was an attorney who already had a lot on his plate. He was suffering financial woes, that in fact caused him to publicly step down from managing the crowdfunding aspect of Rittenhouse’s case, at least temporarily.
Then last week the Rittenhouse family spoke out, accusing Pierce of trying to funnel donations intended for the shooter’s defense to himself. Pierce responded with a threat of further court battles and the allegation that it’s actually the Rittenhouses who owe him.
Now he has appeared on a podcast to speak about Kyle’s case. On Timcast Pierce spoke about the charge against Rittenhouse for possessing the rifle while underage, and his belief that the charge should be dismissed. He also argued Rittenhouse’s larger case, claiming that self-defense will be an adequate defense in court.
Rittenhouse’s current attorney, Robert Barnes, seemed to take exception to Pierce’s decision to speak on behalf of the client, tweeting a video of the podcast and leveling his own accusations at Pierce: that Pierce stole money from Kyle; that he has stolen from others; and ultimately that he’s still trying to steal from Rittenhouse.
FYI: John Pierce has NOTHING to do with Kyle Rittenhouse defense. He was fired! Pierce stole money from Kyle (as he has many people, as the second coming of #Avenatti), and is trying to steal more. @Timcast needs to vet better before promoting grifters. https://t.co/6JvRSso5Yg
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) July 10, 2021
Kyle’s mother also tweeted (her account is not verified but Barnes boosted it) to say that Pierce has been told to “keep [Rittenhouse’s] name out of his mouth” and to reiterate her story about Pierce trying to finagle the $2 million that was put up for Kyle’s bail.
The official account for the family’s current fundraising weighed in too, claiming that Pierce refused to hand over the bail receipt unless they agreed to waive any liability on his part and to sign an agreement not to speak disparagingly of him.
FACT: John tried to get us to agree to a crazy deal. He would only turn over the bail receipt in exchange for a total waiver of liability and non-disparagement agreement + he wouldn't be required to provide an accounting of his client trust account. https://t.co/8BrVPuoiuz
— 🇺🇸 Kyle Rittenhouse Defense Fund 🇺🇸 (@freekyleusa) July 10, 2021
The family blames Pierce for some of Kyle’s post-bail controversies, such as being photographed in a bar with his mother and apparent Proud Boy members, leading prosecutors to push for additional bail conditions, including avoiding contact with extremist groups.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com