News and Commentary

Lawyer Posts Phone Message From Kyle Rittenhouse From Jail

"I'm gonna be out of here soon"
Clashes between protesters and armed civilians, who protect the streets of Kenosha against the arson, break out during the third day of protests over the shooting of a black man Jacob Blake by police officer in Wisconsin, United States on August 25, 2020.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Pierce Bainbridge lawyer John Pierce, who is defending 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, released a phone message of the teen from behind bars.

Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was charged last Wednesday with first-degree murder following his alleged involvement in a two-part shooting last Tuesday night that left two dead and one injured during far-left rioting and chaos in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Pierce has claimed that his client was acting in self-defense against repeated attacks from a “potentially deadly mob,” stating that the teen was failed by local and state politicians who allowed the chaos and destruction to overtake Kenosha following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

KYLE RITTENHOUSE SPEAKS!!!!!!” Mr. Pierce captioned a video of his taped phone conversation with Rittenhouse (post below). “THIS MUST BE THE TWEET HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD!!!!!!”

Speaking from county jail, Rittenhouse addressed supporters, “I just want to thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart for the underlying support, it’s just amazing,” he said. “I want to thank all of you for the mail I’ve been receiving, it’s been really helpful.”

“I just wanna let you all know that I’m gonna be out of here soon,” he added. “Just stay strong, and I hope to see you guys soon.”

Pierce, with Rittenhouse still on the line, added that his client was acting in “self-defense.”

“This is 100% self-defense,” the lawyer emphasized. “If this is not self-defense for Kyle Rittenhouse under these circumstances, then no one can protect themselves, no one can protect their family, and no one can protect their country.”

“This is a watershed moment in American history,” Pierce continued, “a very bright line has been crossed. The right to self-defense is a God-given right, and we’re not gonna allow a prosecutor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to take it away from Kyle Rittenhouse.”

Last week, Pierce Bainbridge released a statement in defense of Rittenhouse, stating that before the incident, their client cleaned up graffiti from rioters after having finished a shift as a lifeguard in Kenosha. Rittenhouse later “received information about a call for help from a local” car dealership owner who allegedly needed protection for his properties, apparently “including two nearby mechanic’s shops,” from rioters and looters. The teen and a friend armed themselves and went to help, the statement says, claiming that their weapons were in Wisconsin and “never crossed state lines.”

Describing the events of the incident, the statement says Rittenhouse was on his way to a mechanic’s shop when multiple rioters accosted him, recognizing him as one of the people trying to protect the shops in the area. The teen tried to flee as he was chased by the “mob,” and “[u]pon the sound of a gunshot behind him, Kyle turned and was immediately faced with an attacker lunging towards him and reaching for his rifle. He reacted instantaneously and justifiably with his weapon to protect himself, firing and striking the attacker.”

“In fear for his life and concerned the crowd would either continue to shoot at him or even use his own weapon against him, Kyle had no choice but to fire multiple rounds towards his immediate attackers, striking two, including one armed attacker,” the law firm adds.

Rittenhouse, the defense team maintains, was failed by those in power that left the rioting unchecked: “A 17-year-old child should not have to take up arms in America to protect life and property. That is the job of state and local governments. However, those governments have failed, and law-abiding citizens have no choice but to protect their own communities as their forefathers did at Lexington and Concord in 1775.”

Wisconsin gun statutes specify that anyone under 18 who “goes armed” with a deadly weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, however, some legal experts say that the statutes are “ambiguous” when it comes to rifles and shotguns in some cases (formatting adjusted):

Under Wisconsin statutes that say anyone under 18 who “goes armed” with any deadly weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was not old enough to legally carry the assault-style rifle he had.

But John Monroe, a lawyer who specializes in gun rights cases, believes an exception for rifles and shotguns, intended to allow people age 16 and 17 to hunt, could apply. Tom Grieve, a Milwaukee defense lawyer who also specializes in gun cases, agreed the exception might apply beyond hunting, but said that part of the law is poorly drafted. He said he would argue to apply a rule of law that interprets ambiguous criminal statutes in favor of the defendant.

Rittenhouse could be in violation of having a gun within a gun-free zone, if there was one covering, for instance, a school nearby. Also, Illinois law requires anyone who owns any kind of firearm in that state to have a Firearm Owners Identification card, but that is only available to someone 21 or older, or someone with a sponsor who is 21 and eligible for a card. Rittenhouse did not own the gun, his lawyer said Friday.

Related: Kyle Rittenhouse Defense Issues Statement: Protected Himself From ‘Potentially Deadly Mob’

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Lawyer Posts Phone Message From Kyle Rittenhouse From Jail