Former US President Donald Trump has said he was recently visited at his Palm Beach, Florida resort by Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who was acquitted of all charges last week after he was shot and killed two people and injured a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer. .
“He called. He wanted to know if he could come, say hello, because he was a fan,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that aired Tuesday night.
Trump said Rittenhouse, 18, left Mar-a-Lago “a short while ago,” and Hannity had said earlier that his interview with Trump took place on Monday. During the interview, Fox showed a photo of Rittenhouse posing with Trump.
“He came with his mother. Really a nice young man.… It was the prosecutor’s fault. He shouldn’t have been tried for that. He was going to be dead,” said the former president.
The comments were consistent with those Trump had made during his tenure.
A panel of 12 jurors deliberated for more than 25 hours in the closely watched case, ultimately acquitting Rittenhouse on Friday of first degree intentional homicide and four other felony charges in a verdict that cannot be appealed .
The two-week trial – which caught the attention of the United States and was in many ways iconic of the divided nation – featured testimony from more than 30 witnesses, including Rittenhouse himself, and video clips from the night of shootings during the unrest started by the police. shooting of Jacob Blake, a black. The verdict opened a new debate on the state’s laws on self-defense and the concept of self-defense.
The politicization of the case comes in an already tense political environment as the 2022 elections and even the 2024 presidential race approach.
Trump, who appears to be setting up another run for the White House, has praised Rittenhouse as the “spokesperson” for the right to self-defense.
US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, told reporters on Friday that he upholds the not guilty verdict, saying the jury system in the United States works and should be respected.
“Look, I stand by what the jury found,” he said. “The jury system works and we must respect it.” In a statement later today, Biden acknowledged that the verdict “will leave many Americans angry and concerned, including me” but reiterated that “the jury has spoken.”
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