The attorney for the teenage Kenosha double murder suspect Kyle Rittenhouse is planning to sue former Vice President Joe Biden on his behalf after he appeared to suggest the 17-year-old is a white supremacist on Twitter.
Lin Wood, the lawyer representing Rittenhouse, said he intends to sue the Democratic presidential nominee for libel after Biden posted a video about how President Donald Trump “refused to disavow white supremacists” during Tuesday’s televised debate.
The video, which has been viewed more than 2.9 million times, plays audio of debate moderator Chris Wallace asking the president if he is willing to condemn the violence committed by white supremacists and other militia groups seen in cities such as Portland and Kenosha.
When asked to disavow the far-right Proud Boys group in particular, Trump replies that they should “stand back and stand by.”
As well as showing clips of violence by far-right groups and the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, the video also shows a still of Rittenhouse on the night he is accused of killing two protesters and injuring one other in the Wisconsin city on August 25. In a statement to Newsweek, Wood said: “Kyle Rittenhouse is a 17-year old boy falsely accused of murder and facing life in prison. “Video evidence is publicly available that shows beyond any doubt that Kyle acted in self-defense. Kyle went to Kenosha to help render medical aid to others. He was viciously attacked by three criminals. He fought back to save his life.
“To say that Kyle is a white supremacist and militia member who was responsible for the violence in Kenosha is a lie. That lie prejudices Kyle’s constitutional right to a fair trial and damages his reputation.
“Joe Biden is not above the law and must be held accountable for his wrongdoing. To falsely attack a young boy for perceived political gain in a campaign ad is an entirely unacceptable rush to judgment and reflects a disdain for our country’s justice system and basic concepts of fundamental fairness.”
In a tweet, Wood added: “The only thing that saves Chris Wallace is that he did not use Kyle’s name or likeness. @JoeBiden & his campaign recklessly did. Meets the ‘of and concerning’ requirement of libel law,” Wood added. “Joe is going to be sued.”
Wood also demands that Biden “immediately retract his false accusation” that Rittenhouse is a white supremacist and part of any militia responsible for violence in Kenosha.
I may have to talk Marina into being a defamation lawyer too. After 43 years, I know legal talent when I see it. https://t.co/TGdUq9WttY
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) September 30, 2020
Rittenhouse is accused of crossing state lines with a gun he was not legally allowed to possess and joining up with right-wing militia groups once in Kenosha before killing Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum during the protests.
His lawyers argue he was acting in self-defense after being chased through the streets by protesters and attacked while on the ground. Gaige Grosskreutz, who was injured after being shot in the arm by the teenager, was armed with a handgun at the time.
His defense team say the 17-year-old attended the protests to protect the city and provide medical care to those injured during the unrest.
While right-wing militia groups were found to have actively encouraged violence at the Kenosha protest, Facebook previously confirmed that they found no evidence that Rittenhouse followed or was invited to any of the pages.