I know what you’re thinking—how are you saying this? You want to sue everyone all the time! It’s true. It’s my personal motto that is so well known it’s become a sitewide joke in the editor’s breakroom. Nine times out of ten, my answer is “sue everyone.” And to be clear, Kyle Rittenhouse was clearly defamed and continues to be so in my opinion … but hear me out.
I was halfway through writing an article detailing how epic the defamation claims could be while I was also reviewing the new Fox footage of Rittenhouse on Tucker Carlson Tonight. (I’m a multi-tasker like that.) While I was listening, another video popped up of Nick Sandmann on Sean Hannity recently. I couldn’t believe this was the same kid we saw a few years ago. Sandmann was the Catholic school kid in the MAGA hat who got attacked for doing nothing but smiling while he was attacked by lunatic activists. To refresh your memory on what Sandmann was like right after the event that made him famous (literally smirk-smiling in public), here’s the fresh-faced teen’s interview with some news babe who tried to make him look bad. Just watch a few seconds of this to get his vibe.
The media destroyed his reputation and Sandmann has been filing (and winning) lawsuits against the media companies that did it for the last three years. So what’s the problem? Watch a few seconds of today’s Sandmann.
He looks miserable. He sounds miserable. This is not a happy man.
Sandmann appears as if he’s been through a war and he came back with injuries that will never heal. I couldn’t help but wonder as I watched him how much money his lawyers took from those settlements. And I wonder, if he had to do it all over again, would he choose to spend the last three years of his life (and the next four or five years of his future) tied up in legal battles? Lawfare isn’t fun, even when you win. It’s exhausting. Discovery is terrible. Your enemies get to dig through your emails and private life depending on what the judge allows. How much of this strategy was done to help Sandmann and how much of it was done to make money off him? It certainly didn’t stop the lying media from lying about another teenager. And one of Sandmann’s lawyers was Lin Wood, who is also embroiled in a money-grubbing scandal in the Kyle Rittenhouse case.
Rittenhouse publicly accused Wood and John Pierce on Tucker Carlson Tonight of keeping him in jail longer than needed in order to raise money off him.
RITTENHOUSE: I was in jail for 87 days. And this goes — this follows in with Lin Wood who — Lin Wood was raising money on my behalf, and he held me in jail for 87 days, disrespecting my wishes, put me on media interviews, which I should never have done, which he said, oh, you’re going to go talk to “The Washington Post.” “The Washington Post,” which was not a good idea along with John Pierce.
They said I was safer in jail instead of at home with my family. And then after I’m built up.
CARLSON: Your lawyer said that?
RITTENHOUSE: My lawyer said that, John Pierce and Lin Wood.
CARLSON: Eighty seven days is a long time to be in jail.
RITTENHOUSE: It was — it was very long. I lost a lot of weight in there. I since then gained it back.
CARLSON: I know the feeling.
RITTENHOUSE: Yes. But 87 days of not being with my family for defending myself and being taken advantaged to being used for a cause by these — by John Pierce and Lin Wood trying to solicit — not solicit — trying to raise money so they can take it for their own benefit, not trying to set me free.
I stopped writing my “sue everyone” article at this point and threw it in the trash. I felt sick. There are predatory lawyers all over these two cases, feeding off battered media victims. I should know better after spending most of this year reporting on family court corruption than to view lawyers with anything but skepticism. The lawyers I exposed in those cases are the worst of the worst, profiting off family destruction, but they’re not the only bottom feeders with law degrees. Predatory lawyers are everywhere and each client is a big, fat paycheck to most of them.
This is not to say that all lawyers are scum, because I know that not to be true. My own dear sister is a lawyer and she struggles and sacrifices to help her clients. She’s never had a huge payday because most people don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for legal work, and she has a conscience and often takes little to no payment. (It’s so bad that whenever she gets a new case, I scold her and tell her “make sure you get paid this time.”) Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, seems like one of the good ones. He commented on the news that getting rid of Rittenhouse’s first two lawyers was key to winning. Those lawyers were Lin Wood and John Pierce, the same two Rittenhouse said exploited him in jail.
I then found an interview with attorney Robert Barnes, who knows his way around a defamation case and has connections to both Sandmann and Rittenhouse. Barnes makes the case in this interview that the person with the robust claims to a defamation suit is Wendy Rittenhouse. After all, she was never charged with any crime and she was viciously lied about by the press. She never “drove her son over state lines with a gun” to bring him to a riot. That was totally false. Kyle was sleeping over at Dominick Black’s house in Kenosha on the day of the event and the gun was there with him.
Barnes makes the case that Rittenhouse is under the control of a “handler,” David Hancock, who even defense attorney Richards called out, questioning why Fox News had such access to his client, which he said he did not recommend. We all love seeing him on Fox but is it good for Kyle? Will Kyle benefit from doing this exclusive interview and documentary so soon after this terrible trial that may still have ruined his life, even if he won’t be in jail?
Barnes says over three million dollars has been raised for Kyle’s legal fees. That’s a lot of dough to fight over, and who knows how much more is coming in from the Fox appearance and documentary? (To be totally fair, I don’t think anyone should blame Fox for getting the story. That’s their job. If I could have landed it, I would have. It’s not Fox’s or any journalist’s job to act in the best interests of the subjects of their reports. When you agree to be in the media, you take on that responsibility and, in the case of a minor, the person with the authority is a parent or advisor.) Kyle’s advisor raises more questions than confidence.
“I have no confidence that David Hancock is looking out for the best interest of Kyle Rittenhouse,” said Barnes. “I have no doubt he’s looking out for the best interest of David Hancock. And he’s using his control over the kid and the family for his own self-aggrandizement and enrichment.” Hancock is a controversial figure connected to scandals, according to Barnes. “[He’s a] former Navy Seal who ends up connected to a ‘security team,’ and some of these security folks show up in interesting places,” said Barnes. “Some of the companies he’s connected to have almost no footprint aside from doing highly classified work.” Barnes says Hancock became security for Wood and “helped drive Lin Wood completely crazy,” which we all witnessed firsthand during the last election. Through Wood, Hancock ended up taking charge of security and finances for the Rittenhouse family, and he is now in complete control of everything Kyle does, according to Barnes.
Watching Sandmann in 2021 looking 20 years older than he is, looking like sleep is something he can’t do anymore, without a hint of a smile or any mirth in his face or life behind his eyes makes me very worried for Kyle. Kyle still has the roses in his cheeks and an easy grin. How long will that last, with these types of political money-grubbing grifters attached to him?
“He’s 18 years old,” said Barnes. “If you see Kyle making decisions you think are bad decisions, they’re David Hancock’s decisions.”
Barnes warned that Kyle is in a precarious position. “Some of these people want to monetize him for their own gain and other people want to politicize him for their own gain,” he said. “It’s almost like 14-year-old Britney Spears where everybody’s looking at all the money and power that can come in through that person and focused on themselves rather than focused on what’s good for them.” Barnes continued, “I hope they get better advisers in my view that care mostly about them rather than self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment.”
Barnes says lawsuits for Kyle will be a long, uphill battle, and Wendy Rittenhouse has better claims. “This is someone who used to work 80 hours a week. This is a working-class person who works for a living who had to live in hiding with her two daughters and her son for the last year and a half in part because of those lies — that could be a very big, big verdict.”
So Kyle, if you’re reading this, take a vacation and focus on school and let your mom handle this. Be a kid and leave this far behind you. Don’t carry it into the future like Sandmann has done (or has been forced to do by shadowy puppet masters). We all want the media held accountable, but the truth is: no matter how many millions of dollars they are forced to pay out, they will never change their ways. They WILL do it again. And the only thing the lawsuits will do is make a bunch of lawyers super-rich at the expense of years of your life. Don’t do it. Find that quiet life you want and deserve instead.