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Attorney For Accused Murderer Of Mollie Tibbetts: He’s An ‘All-American Boy’

On Thursday, speaking at a hearing for his client, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who is accused of murdering 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, attorney Allan Richards made a claim that would turn the stomach of those who heard it, calling Rivera “an All-American boy.”

Richards spoke at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Iowa, where he argued that expanded news media coverage of the case would be inappropriate, saying, “The coverage that’s out there is leaning all one way and in fact, government has weighed in at the highest levels. In our system of justice, he’s entitled to that presumption of innocence until some evidence is presented. Portraying Cristhian as something that he isn’t, in some ways I view that as a political payback for what’s swirling around.”

Richards continued, “One nod of the head, one glance, one sleight of hand that will be partially taken out of context and presented over and over which would be highly prejudicial to the defendant, so I urge the court to exclude the media from these proceedings.”

Richards later made this ill-conceived statement as he spoke to People Magazine, discussing Rivera’s past, pointing out that he had “no prior criminal record”: “He was just a part of the community. An all-American boy working really hard … Whether or not there was something that happened that was very outrageous that is a different matter. I have seen no evidence on that at no point and he is presumed innocent until we see it.”

Richards referenced Rivera’s job at Yarrabee Farms in Brooklyn, Iowa, adding, “He was a very productive worker. He lived alone and worked 12 hours (a) day, seven days a week. He was handling the milk supply. He is a loving father.”

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