Kyle Rittenhouse defense attorney says 3 day wait for verdict was ‘torture’, but thanks jury for acquittal – CBS Chicago

RACINE, WIS. (CBS) — After Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the August 2020 Kenosha shooting that killed two men and injured another, attorney Mark Richards said the teen “wants to move on with his life” and “has a tremendous sense of relief for what the jury has done to him”.

Rittenhouse, 18, burst into tears and nearly collapsed, his legs trembling, when a clerk announced that he had been found guilty of five felonies in the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, during widespread civil unrest in Kenosha last summer after a white Kenosha police officer shot a black man, Jacob Blake.

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Rittenhouse had faced five charges, including charges of reckless first-degree manslaughter, reckless first-degree endangering, first-degree intentional manslaughter, and first-degree attempted manslaughter. If he was convicted, he would be given a life sentence.

“We are very happy with the verdict. We are pleased that the jury took the time to put in an incredible amount of effort. There were times when we had doubts, there were times when we were confident, and to say we were relieved would be a gross misconception,” Richard said.

CBS 2’s Tara Molina reports that a family spokesperson said Rittenhouse herself plans to speak publicly soon, but it’s not clear if that will be on Friday. CBS 2 is told that he is currently in a “secure location” with his family.

“He wants to move on with his life. He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today. He wishes this never happened, but as he said when he testified, he didn’t start it, and we’re grateful in more ways than one that the jury finally got to hear the true story,” Richards said.

Richards also suggested that Rittenhouse and his family would likely move out of Wisconsin now that the trial is over, saying he believes it is too dangerous for them to stay in the area as the case has become a major focus of the debate over weapons, self-defense, and racial injustice across the country.

“He needs to get on with his life as best he can. I think eventually some anonymity will come back to it. I don’t think he will continue to live in this area. I think it’s too dangerous,” he said. “To me it’s frightening how many death threats we’ve had.”

When asked if there was a key moment in the case that he believed was a turning point for his client, Richards said it was when Rittenhouse fired the two original attorneys on the case.

“They wanted to use Kyle for a purpose, and something that I think was appropriate,” said Richards. “I don’t represent clauses, I represent clients, and in the end all that mattered was whether he was found innocent or not.”

Richards said he believes Rittenhouse also only wanted to focus on getting a not guilty verdict, not using the case as a test case for Second Amendment and self-defense rights.

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“I told him when I first met him, while he was in custody, that if he was looking for someone to go on a crusade, I wasn’t his lawyer,” Richards said.

Jurors deliberated for more than 26 hours for four days before reaching a verdict, and Richards said “it was torture” to wait that long to find out whether Rittenhouse would be acquitted or not.

“I never predict how long a jury will be absent, but it was the longest jury deliberation I’ve ever participated in,” he said.

As the defense team did at the trial, Richards said Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he shot Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz, and he taunted prosecutors for suggesting Rittenhouse had no business in Kenosha armed with an AR-15-style rifle. during last summer’s protests.

“He had as much business to do there as the protesters or the rioters,” Richards said. “He was asked to be there. He wanted to help the community.”

Rittenhouse took the stand for his own defense at the trial, testifying that he acted in self-defense and never intended to kill anyone.

“I haven’t done anything wrong. I defended myself,” said Rittenhouse.

Richards said he had no choice but to put Rittenhouse on the witness stand, as self-defense was the main question in the case.

“If you don’t put a customer in the stands in Wisconsin, you lose,” he said.

Richards said he believes Rittenhouse regrets shooting and killing someone that night, even though he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

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“There has been so much talk about whether the tears (in the stands) were real. All I can say is that as we were preparing Kyle and working on his testimony, there were things that we couldn’t talk about in my office because it got too emotional, and he couldn’t handle it,” he said.

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Kyle Rittenhouse defense attorney says 3 day wait for verdict was 'torture', but thanks jury for acquittal - CBS Chicago 2

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