A new fundraising arm for the defendant Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse is raising questions about how his previous legal team has spent hundreds of thousands of donations, as it battles PayPal and other platforms that are shutting down their new accounts.
FreeKyleUSA has fired Twitter attacks against former Rittenhouse attorneys — California litigator John Pierce and pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood — over several weeks, demanding an accounting of the Wood’s funds. FightBack Organization. (Pierce resigned from FightBack in September between surveillance to his embroiled law firm, which was already millions of dollars in debt. Lin herself is facing a lawsuit from former partners, who accused him? pay them no fees and “behave erratic, abusive, and unprofessional.” Reply, Lin released a statement calls the lawsuit an “attempt to take down” that will force him to pay back an “unreasonable portion” of his earned fees.)
According to a FreeKyleUSA representative, Fightback is no longer authorized to collect money on Rittenhouse’s behalf and has been unable to provide detailed accounting to the Rittenhouse family for the $2.1 million in donations it raised to the end. November.
For its part, Fightback denies anything about its accounting is amiss. Lawson Pedigo, a Dallas-based attorney and a co-founder of Fightback, said the majority of Fightback donations to Rittenhouse go to the teenager’s $2 million bail and $600,000. Fightback’s general funds are included in the legal fees.
Pedigo said he provided an overview of the accounting to Rittenhouse’s legal team. “It’s a positive situation,” Pedigo told The Daily Beast. “That’s why I’m surprised there would be something else to suggest.”
For their part, Wood said the Rittenhouse family wants Pierce to take over all future fundraising and let Fightback cease efforts as of November 28. “We promptly did so and announced it publicly on November 28. the next day that future fundraising efforts will be undertaken by John. and not #FightBack. No donations were subsequently sought or received by the organization in connection with Kyle or his case. #FightBack did a great job helping Kyle and the foundation still supports him but is unable to raise funds,” Wood said in an email.
Rittenhouse made national headlines after he fatally shot two people and injured a third during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. Protesters gathered to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was paralyzed after a Kenosha officer fired seven bullets at him at close range.
The 18-year-old from Illinois – who has become a fixture in right-wing activist circles – has pleaded not guilty to charges including first-degree murder and his lawyers say he acted to defend himself.
The FreeKyleUSA account, which launched in December, posted photos of Rittenhouse, his mother, Wendy, and his dog, and said it had set up an independent trust for the defense fund . But the account is also busy with Pierce and Fightback in what appears to be a feud between current and former supporters for Rittenhouse.
On Wednesday, FreeKyleUSA tweeted: “We’re finally getting our breath back after our recent de-platforming. We plan to respond to your email within the next few days. We will do our best to address concerns about Fightback directly. ”
The Mysterious Handler has released a series of tweets questioning Fightback, Pierce and Wood about their fundraising accounting.
“Lin controlled the donations through Fightback,” the account claimed on February 23. “John controlled the funds raised for the family’s living expenses and version 1 of FreeKyleUSA. Both failed to present their books of account when questioned, and the balances have yet to be transferred. Indeed. I will call it like it is. ”
On the 4th of February, FreeKyleUSA account added: “According to the recommendation of the lawyer [sic] and accountants everywhere, we went offline for several weeks to set up a strictly irrevocable independent trust for Kyle’s sake. John Pierce opposes that opinion. Obviously in doing so, we made the right decision.”
On the same day, the account posted “Kyle, his family and freekyleusa wish John Pierce all the best and thank him for his work over the past five months”.
A representative for FreeKyleUSA told The Daily Beast that everything it has collected so far has gone through overdue bills for Rittenhouse’s new defense attorney, Mark Richards, as well as investigators and experts. “We are getting rid of it right now,” the person said.
“It was a big problem that they were not provided with any accounting records,” the representative added. “Wendy doesn’t know what was raised, from what sources, she doesn’t know who was paid what from the defense. All she knows really is that up to half a million dollars has been spent on a failed extradition war that should never have been started. “
Rittenhouse’s new civil attorney, Conservative tax attorney Robert Barnes, has also performed public swipes at Wood and Pierce. In December, Barnes responded to Wood’s public comments that all donations that Fightback had collected to Rittenhouse would specifically be “dedicated to his criminal defense.”
“Wood lied,” Barnes wrote, adding. “Wood didn’t do that.”
In September, Barnes posted: “Wood won’t give that money to the Rittenhouse family, and Pierce needs that money to feed his many creditors for all of his debts.”
Barnes and Pierce did not return messages left by The Daily Beast.
In response to Barnes’ claims, Wood said, “Looking at the dates of these tweets, I suspect Robert was uninformed or misinformed at the time he posted them.” He added that he believes “Robert is now aware that there has been no mishandling of funds by #FightBack or any of its companies.”
Last month, Pierce suggested that the latest fundraising effort through FreeKyleUSA wasn’t straightforward about his intentions.
“Does anyone wonder who runs @freekyleusa and what his history and agenda is?” Drill tweeted on February 17. “I heard there is an 8% processing fee. I wonder where that goes. I wonder if there is history between him, Lin Wood and @barnes_law? Maybe they also talked to someone I had to fire? #preds. ”
Pierce added, “Perhaps Mr. @freekyleusa should focus less on stealing and posting illegal wiretaps, and reveal more on why he hates Lin Wood so much. It actually seems a bit personal, haunting, and a bit creepy. But hey, that’s just me. What do I know about the situation??? ”
A FreeKyleUSA representative responded to these claims in a text message to The Daily Beast: “First, I don’t know what illegal wiretapping means. Second, I don’t know who we’re going to ‘steal’ the audio file from. The audio file is provided by… How should Lin put it… a trusted whistleblower. ”
Meanwhile, PayPal and Stripe, an online payment processing platform, have stopped providing services to accounts related to Rittenhouse’s fundraising. It’s not entirely clear whether PayPal and Stripe will stop providing services to Rittenhouse’s team because of the platform’s promises to sever ties with individuals or groups that promote violence.
A spokesperson for PayPal will only say the company has a longstanding policy of allowing funds to be raised for legal defense purposes, as long as the account holder is pending or appealing. The FreeKyleUSA website says its fundraising will go toward “the cost of Kyle’s defense and other case-related expenses.”
Printify, an online store, also terminated FreeKyleUSA’s account in December for violating the company’s policy against violent content, Kenosha News reported.
GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site, raised about $585,000 for Rittenhouse and transferred about $571,000 to Lin and Fightback to cover defense expenses including the bond.
As NBC reported in January, PayPal stopped providing payment tools to GiveSendGo after it raised funds for Capitol rioters. “We are in the process of finalizing and implementing new payment solutions to our platform,” Jacob Wells, founder and chief financial officer of GiveSendGo, told The Daily Beast in an email.
“We hold to the tenets that everyone is presumed Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and that everyone should be dealt with according to Due Process,” Wells said.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/kenosha-shooter-kyle-rittenhouses-supporters-feud-over-fundraising-cash?source=articles&via=rss Kenosha Shooter Kyle Rittenhouse Supporters Protest For Fundraiser