MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An 18-year-old from Illinois who’s accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a police brutality protest in Wisconsin last summer fired a California attorney who had been soliciting money for his case.
John Pierce, a Los Angeles lawyer, had been at the forefront of Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense, helping raise money from conservatives to post Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail in November. He also hired attorney Mark Richards to handle proceedings in Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse, who is white and was 17 at the time, is accused of shooting three people in Kenosha in August as hundreds were protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Rittenhouse, who had come to Kenosha from his home in nearby Antioch, Illinois, has argued they attacked him and he fired in self-defense.
A judge is considering whether to issue new arrest warrant for Rittenhouse, after prosecutors said he violated his bail conditions. Prosecutors alleged he failed to inform the court of a change of address within 48 hours of moving.
Pierce removed himself from Rittenhouse’s criminal case in December after prosecutors alleged Pierce has “significant financial difficulties” and shouldn’t be allowed to raise money for Rittenhouse. He remained Rittenhouse’s attorney on civil matters
Rittenhouse supporters tweeted on their FreeKyleUSA account on Thursday that Rittenhouse fired Pierce on Monday morning. Pierce confirmed as much, tweeting that he had fought with “every fiber” of his being for Rittenhouse.
Another tweet on FreeKyleUSA said Rittenhouse had hired another Los Angeles attorney, Robert Barnes. Barnes confirmed the hire on Twitter on Thursday evening.
“Happy to join the #KyleRittenhouse team. Kid’s innocent, and everybody knows it,” Barnes tweeted.