Kyle Rittenhouse’s attorney on Wednesday said he’s suing Joe Biden for libel after the Democratic presidential nominee allegedly implied the teenager is a white supremacist.
The video: Biden on Wednesday tweeted a campaign video ad that features footage from the previous night’s presidential debate interspersed with scenes from deadly conflicts between right-wing and left-wing groups.
- “There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night,” commented Biden.
Rittenhouse appears in the video between clips from the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and an Aug. 29 Proud Boys car caravan demonstration in Portland, Oregon.
- In a stylized still image, Rittenhouse is seen carrying an AR-15 rifle away from an Aug. 25 riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during which he shot three racial justice protesters who appeared to be attacking him, killing to of them and wounding the other.
- Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old police enthusiast and Trump supporter from Illinois, was arrested on first-degree murder charges and is fighting extradition to Wisconsin.
- His legal team has argued he acted in self-defense.
The 50-second Biden campaign ad goes on to show Trump during the debate agreeing to condemn white supremacists and then saying, “Proud Boys, stand down and stand by” — which critics characterized as an endorsement of the group.
The response: Lin Wood, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, on Twitter on Wednesday demanded Biden “immediately retract his false accusation that Kyle is a white supremacist & militia member responsible for violence in Kenosha.”
- In a followup tweet, Wood said he would be suing Biden, a former vice president, and his 2020 campaign for libel.
- “Put in your hearing aid, Joe,” Wood taunted. “You will hear footsteps.”
Wood — once described by then-CBS anchor Dan Rather as “the attorney for the damned” — last year helped Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann sue CNN, The Washington Post and other news outlets for defamation.
The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Murder?: Biden would not be the first prominent Democrat to brand Rittenhouse as a racist extremist without evidence.
- In separate tweets in August, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts called Rittenhouse a “white supremacist domestic terrorist,” and Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he was a “deranged white nationalist Trump supporter.”
- NBC News reported on Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security has directed officials to make public comments sympathetic to Rittenhouse.
- According to leaked internal documents, federal law enforcement officials were instructed to cite video evidence suggesting Rittenhouse acted in self-defense and to note that “Rittenhouse, just like everyone else in America, is innocent until proven guilty and deserves a fair trial based on all the facts, not just the ones that support a certain narrative.”