John Pierce, who is representing the 17-year-old charged with killing protesters in Wisconsin, is accused of not paying millions of dollars in obligations
The attorney representing Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with killing protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is stepping down from a defense fund he helped establish to raise money for Rittenhouse’s defense.
John Pierce, who co-founded the #FightBack Foundation fund, is removing himself from the group after concerns about his troubled financial past surfaced, USA Today reports.
So far, the defense fund has raised over $700,000 in donations, but Pierce and his firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, have been involved in legal disputes in which he has been accused of defaulting on millions of dollars in firm obligations to financiers.
They include a $4 million payment to one funder and a $65 million obligation to another funder. Pierce acknowledged earlier in the year that he failed to fulfill the smaller repayment to Karish Kapital, which provided his firm with cash advances, the outlet reports.
The fund’s other co-founder is Lin Wood, the attorney who successfully defended Richard Lowell, who was falsely accused in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing incident.
As a result, Pierce has elected to step down from the fund to avoid any “appearance of conflict.”
Pierce had tweeted support for the fund, which is attempting to assemble a “Seal team” of attorneys and defenders to assist with Rittenhouse’s defense.
Pierce announced his break from the foundation board on Twitter, saying “All good.”
Rittenhouse is being held for traveling from Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin during protests in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month where he shot three protesters. Two died of their injuries and Rittenhouse is a suspect in their murder, Wall Street Journal reports.
The three victims were protesting in Kenosha after Blake was shot seven times in the back by police, leaving him paralyzed. Rittenhouse was arrested and faces six criminal charges that include first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree intentional homicide.
Pierce contends that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense. The self-defense claim has drawn support from President Donald Trump.
The teenager will be tried as an adult.
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