Defense Attorney Mark Richards said Monday that if he were to offer advice to his client, Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, it would be to “change his name and start his life over.”
Richards spoke with Fox News host Martha MacCallum about the trial, Rittenhouse’s acquittal on all the charges against him, and the people who he believed were coming out of the woodwork to use the trial to advance personal or political causes.
MacCallum asked Richards to address the fact that several Republicans in Congress had suggested the possibility that Rittenhouse would make a good intern — something that Richards had already publicly condemned.
“A lot of people want to use Kyle for their own means. I think the way that Rittenhouse name right now has trended on Twitter and that’s what we live in is a Twitter society, people want to use his name, get it out there so they can get some publicity. I think it’s cheap. That’s what I think,” Richards said.
MacCallum then asked what advice he would give Rittenhouse now that the trial was over and he could go back to his life.
“I heard you say, ‘Look, it’s up to Kyle,’ and you and the other attorney who — he obviously had good relationships with both of you and you talked about the struggles of dealing with this case — but what is your advice to him about how he should live his life? He’s got a lot of big decisions to make about whether or not he goes to college and keeps his head down and gets on with his life or becomes a symbol for certain things that people would like him to be a symbol for.”
“Yeah, my advice would be to change his name and start his life over,” Richards replied. “He’s very recognizable right now. A lot of people that I don’t think have his best interests at heart. Probably want to make him a symbol of something I don’t think he wants to be necessarily associated with. Once you give up your name and likeness and you join those causes, I think a lot of people will use you for their own purposes and you won’t be able to control it. We’ve had that talk with Kyle. It’s a fine line where he decides to go. Ultimately I hope he makes the right choices. I would think his life would be easier being anonymous and going on with his life as opposed to try to keep his supporters happy.”
MacCallum then pivoted to address the case, saying that she felt like the jury wasn’t getting enough credit for listening to such a high-profile and politically-charged case and doing the best that they could to decide the issue without bias.
“There’s not a lot of respect and acknowledgment of that on both sides,” she said.
“Those jurors, you know, started with 20. Ended up with 18 and down to 12. They’re under a tremendous amount of pressure. Many of them if not all of them knew that going into it once they knew the case that they had been summoned for,” Richards replied, noting that the jurors had appeared to be acutely aware that no matter what decision they ultimately reached, half of the country was going to be angry with them for reaching it.
“I give them a huge amount of credit for being able to put that aside, not listen to the people who were outside screaming and yelling to hang Kyle and do what I think the evidence warranted,” Richards concluded.
“Well, they did that. I think it’s important to respect their decision and their finding and the hard work that they put into it. It’s not an easy task. They did a better job of putting the blinders on than perhaps a lot of us on the outside,” MacCallum agreed
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