Kyle Rittenhouse breathed a sigh of relief after his acquittal Friday and now wants to put his homicide trial behind him by moving out of the area, his lawyer says.
“He’s relieved, and he looks forward to getting on with his life. And having a jury of 12 people find him not guilty meant the world to him, in practical and symbolic ways,” the teen’s lead lawyer, Mark Richards, said on the steps of the courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“I don’t think he’ll continue to live in this area — it’s too dangerous,” Richards added. “He’s had 24-hour security since this happened.”
The lawyer argued during the trial that the teenager acted in self-defense when he gunned down three men, two fatally, during racially charged protests in Kenosha in August 2020.
Richards on Friday defended his controversial move to put Rittenhouse on the stand at trial.
“I had to put him on, it wasn’t a close call,” the lawyer said.
Richards said his team practiced two mock trials beforehand and found, “It was substantially better when he testified — to a marked degree.
“That sealed it. In Wisconsin, if you don’t put a client on the stand, you’re gonna lose,” he said.
Richards dismissed criticism about Judge Bruce Schroeder’s strict courtroom style, saying the jurist held a fair trial.
“I thought he gave us a fair trial,” Richards said. “Judge Schroeder gives you a fair trial as a defendant.
“You don’t want him to sentence your client. But in this case, we were looking for a fair trial,” he said.
During the trial, Schroeder had some heated exchanges with prosecutor Thomas Binger over the lawyer’s line of questioning involving Rittenhouse, but Richards said Schroeder was simply ensuring that justice was served.
“I think it’s a good system,” Richards said.
Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted of homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangerment Friday
On Friday, Richards added that Rittenhouse had every right to be at the rally.
“He had as much business being there as any of the demonstrators or the rioters. That’s all I can say,” Richards said.