Kyle Rittenhouse attorney ‘did not approve of’ Tucker Carlson film crew embedded with team during trial

Hours after a jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse on charges of homicide, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson announced that he will not only interview the teenager but air a documentary about him.

Mr Rittenhouse was charged with five serious crimes after fatally shooting two men and injuring another in the volatile aftermath of police brutality protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020.

On 19 November, the host of Tucker Carlson Tonight revealed that a film crew had followed the 18-year-old during the trial, although defence attorney Mark Richards told CNN that he did “not approve of that”.

“I threw them out of the room several times,” Mr Richards said on Friday following the verdict. “I don’t think a film crew is appropriate for something like this.”

Mr Richards said that making the film was part of the Rittenhouse family’s fundraising efforts for legal costs. He described the film crew’s presence as “a definite distraction” throughout the murder trial.

The attorney told CNN that he had told Mr Rittenhouse that he was uncomfortable with Fox News’ presence.

Mr Richards went on to say that “Kyle’s going to have some hard choices in his life about the direction he goes and what he stands for”.

“Those will have to be made by Kyle, eventually,” he added.

Mr Carlson will interview Mr Rittenhouse on 22 November. The documentary is due to be broadcast next month.

During the trial, attorneys for Mr Rittenhouse claimed that he fired his AR-15-style rifle in self-defence against members of a violent mob that began chasing after him.

Following two weeks of testimony and four days of deliberations, prosecutors failed to convince jurors that Mr Rittenhouse provoked the already-chaotic scene by bringing the rifle into the crowd.

A statement from Fox News says the documentary, made by “Tucker Carlson Originals”, will “include additional portions of the interview as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Rittenhouse and his defence team”.

A preview clip shared by the Fox News anchor shows the teenager on a couch, followed by images of Kenosha unrest and scenes outside the Kenosha County Courthouse.

Mr Rittenhouse narrates the one-minute and 45-second clip. “It’s the stuff that keeps you up at night,” he says. “Once you finally do get to sleep, your dreams are about what happened and you’re waking up in a dark, cold sweat.”

In the final moments of the clip, an off-camera voice inside a car leaving the courthouse asks Mr Rittenhouse how he feels about the verdict.

“The jury reached the correct verdict. Self-defence is not illegal,” Mr Rittenhouse says. “I believe they came to the correct verdict and I’m glad everything went well. It’s been a rough journey but we made it through it. We made it through the hard part.”

Mr Rittenhouse was 17 when he travelled from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The teen, who was armed with an AR-15, said that he was there to protect businesses and provide medical aid in the fiery aftermath of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white officer.

Amid a volatile scene on city streets, Mr Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. He also shot Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived.

Mr Rittenhouse claimed that he acted in self-defence after he was attacked by a mob. Prosecutors argued that he provoked an already-chaotic scenario and immediately resorted to deadly force.

During the trial, videos shown to jurors traced the shootings from the moments before Mr Rittenhouse fired his first shot to his attempted surrender to police minutes later, all within less than four minutes.

The relatively narrow scope of the trial was focused largely on the moments surrounding the first and last shots fired by Mr Rittenhouse. Jurors weighed his self-defence argument against Wisconsin law that allows someone to use deadly force if they reasonably believe they are in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.

Prosecutors – relying on stitched-together video evidence that captured nearly every moment of the shootings – faced a high bar to disprove his self-defense claims beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case, and its outcome, exposed deep partisan divides on issues that were not considered in the case, including the scope of Second Amendment rights and whether it was appropriate for a teenager to arm himself against a racial justice upheaval.

He was billed as a hero and became cause celebre on the American right. Civil rights groups and gun control advocates have pointed to the verdict as another disappointing reflection of criminal justice failures.

Fox News hosts have repeatedly come to Mr Rittenhouse’s defense throughout the trial. On his programme after the teenager’s acquittal, Mr Carlson said the jury was “brave enough to reach the right and obvious conclusion”.

“I didn’t want to have to kill anybody,” Mr Rittenhouse said in emotional testimony in his own defence. “I was being attacked.”

Mr Rittenhouse’s attorney, in his interview with CNN, said that he believes that “too many people run around with guns in our society”.

“I wish our society wasn’t perceived as being so dangerous that people needed to arm themselves,” Mr Richards told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday.

In an interview with Insider, Mr Richards also criticised a wave of prominent Republican officials who “want to trade on his celebrity”.

At least three Republican members of Congress have suggested they want Mr Rittenhouse as an intern. North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn – who also told his followers to “be armed, be dangerous, and be moral” – offered the teenager an internship via Instagram story.

Arizona Rep Paul Gosar claimed that he would arm wrestle Florida congressman Matt Gaetz for “dibs” over Mr Rittenhouse as his intern.

“They’re raising money on it and you have all these Republican congressmen saying, ‘Come work for me.’ … They want to trade on his celebrity and I think it’s disgusting,” Mr Richards said.

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