Is Kyle Rittenhouse too broke to pay his lawyers? Kenosha gunman pleads not guilty to all charges
FreeKyleUsa.com, set up in support of Rittenhouse, sold an array of merchandise, but vendors began boycotting after immense scrutiny
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN: Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with shooting three people and killing two at a protest in Wisconsin last August, pleaded not guilty to his charges on Tuesday, January 5. In the hearing before Kenosha County Court Commissioner Loren Keating, the teen’s attorney Mark Richards waived his client’s right to hear his charges read, and quickly pleaded not guilty on Rittenhouse’s behalf to all the charges against him. Rittenhouse has been charged with five felonies in connection to the protest shooting, including first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, as well as a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor under Wisconsin statutes.
As per prosecutors, Rittenhouse left his home in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha after learning of a call to protect businesses after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back on August 23 and left paralyzed. Rittenhouse reportedly opened fire with an assault-style rifle during protests two nights later, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.
How is Rittenhouse paying for his legal fees?
Following the incident, conservatives rallied around Rittenhouse and raised enough money to make his $2 million cash bail. His family later began selling merchandise in order to raise money for his legal proceedings. Reportedly, Rittenhouse’s family was selling "Free Kyle" merch, which included a $43 bikini. FreeKyleUsa.com, set up in support of Rittenhouse, sold an array of "Free Kyle" merchandise that included $26 crop tops, $40 sports bras, $18 mugs, $20 face masks, and $45 men's running tops.
But the website’s store is no longer operational. The page now reads, “We're making some adjustments. Thank you for visiting the FreeKyleUSA store. We will be back soon! Sign up below to be notified when we come back online.”
As per a Forbes report, online vendors tapped by Rittenhouse’s family to produce the merchandise have refused to take part in the process. The report said that after it drew scrutiny, Printify, the company that used to print and sell the goods, terminated its relationship with Rittenhouse’s family. “We have chosen to discontinue our business relationship with this store in order to mitigate business risk,” said Printify in a statement, adding: “Ultimately, we don’t want to be affiliated with a story that’s involved in such a complex, controversial and ongoing case.”
Will Rittenhouse be able to pay for the trial?
Outrage over the vendors refusing to sell Rittenhouse’s merchandise drove an influx of donations to the website. As per the website’s donation tracker, 2,209 donations were made at the time of writing this, which had raised $119,492.33 of the $2,000,000 goal.
Kimberly Motley, the attorney for the lone survivor of the three men shot by Rittenhouse, Gaige Grosskreutz, told ABC News that the merchandise store is an insult to the family and friends of the two who died: “I think it’s frankly vile and disgusting and in extremely poor taste… They [Rosenbaum and Huber’s familie] are going to be celebrating Christmas without their loved ones. Meanwhile, you know, Kyle Rittenhouse’s mom is trying to profit off of these tragedies.”