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The claim: Kyle Rittenhouse went to Mar-a-Lago for a 'two-week, all-expenses-paid vacation'
Immediately after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, who faced charges for killing two people and injuring another during a 2020 protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, misinformation spread quickly on social media. Now, some online claim Rittenhouse is enjoying a sunny vacation away from the courtroom where he spent three weeks.
"Rittenhouse just boarded a flight for a two-week all-expenses-paid vacation at Mar-a-Lago," reads text in a screenshot posted on Facebook Nov. 22, three days after the not-guilty verdict was announced.
The post, which accumulated more than 1,700 shares in four days, is not the only one online. Other versions of the claim, posted as early as the day after the verdict, have also accrued thousands of shares.
Rittenhouse visited Florida the weekend after his trial ended, and he met with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. But Rittenhouse's lawyer told USA TODAY he didn't go on a "two-week, all-expenses-paid vacation."
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.
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Rittenhouse visited Mar-a-Lago
Local news outlets reported Rittenhouse was in Florida the weekend after his acquittal for an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has a home on the state's Gulf Coast. The interview aired Nov. 22.
While he was in Florida, Rittenhouse also visited Trump. The former president told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview that he met the 18-year-old and his mom at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Trump said Rittenhouse had called him wanting "to know if he could come over, say hello because he was a fan." Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington tweeted a photo Nov. 24 of Rittenhouse and Trump side by side.
But the teenager didn't spend two weeks at Mar-a-Lago on Trump's dime.
Mark Richards, Rittenhouse's lead defense attorney, told USA TODAY in an email the claim is wrong. Richards didn't say when Rittenhouse arrived at Mar-a-Lago or how long he stayed.
In his interview with Fox News, which aired Nov. 23, Trump added that Rittenhouse had already left the resort by the time of the interview. That was just days after the Nov. 19 verdict.
USA TODAY reached out to Harrington for comment.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Rittenhouse went to Mar-a-Lago for a two-week, all-expenses-paid vacation. Rittenhouse visited Trump at the resort after his acquittal, but Rittenhouse's lead defense attorney told USA TODAY he wasn't there for a two-week vacation. Based on the timing of an interview where Trump said Rittenhouse had left, the teen was there a few days at most.
Our fact-check sources:
USA TODAY, Nov. 19, Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts of homicide, reckless endangerment
Sandra Walsh, Nov. 20, Facebook post
WPTV 5, Nov. 22, Kyle Rittenhouse spotted at Florida restaurant
Fox News, Nov. 23, Hannity - Tuesday, November 23
The Palm Beach Post, Nov. 24, Trump welcomes Kyle Rittenhouse at Mar-a-Lago days after Kenosha acquittal
Richards and Dimmer, S.C., accessed Nov. 26, Mark D. Richards
Mark Richards, Nov. 25, Email exchange with USA TODAY
The Hill, Nov. 24, Trump says Rittenhouse met with him in Florida
Liz Harrington, Nov. 24, Tweet
Donald Trump, accessed Nov. 24, News
BBC, May 5, Trump launches new 'communications' platform
Variety, July 16, 2020, Tucker Carlson Sells D.C. Digs, Snags Florida Hideaway
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Rittenhouse didn't go to Mar-a-Lago for two-week vacation