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In the first interview following his acquittal, Kyle Rittenhouse says ‘self-defense was on trial’

Rittenhouse also criticized his previous attorneys, saying they used his case to raise money

Kyle Rittenhouse during his trail at the Kenosha County Courthouse
Kyle Rittenhouse pulls numbers of jurors out of a tumbler during his trail at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The jurors selected through this process will not participate in deliberations. Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP

In his first interview since he was found not guilty of all charges in the Kenosha shooting that killed two and injured a third, Kyle Rittenhouse told Fox News his case had been taken advantage of by people with agendas.

That includes, according to Rittenhouse, the two lawyers who initially took his case, whom Rittenhouse alleged used him to raise money “for their own benefit” rather than get him out of jail as soon as possible.

Rittenhouse conducted the interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who is working on a documentary about Rittenhouse’s case. The interview aired Monday evening.

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Rittenhouse was 17 when he fatally shot two men and wounded another after traveling from his home state of Illinois to Kenosha. His current lawyers — not the ones Rittenhouse criticized — argued in court that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.

Rittenhouse told Carlson he felt compelled to help Kenosha businesses after places downtown were set ablaze in demonstrations that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, on Aug. 23, 2020.

The teen patrolled Kenosha with an AR-15-style weapon Aug. 25, 2020. That night, following a confrontation and a struggle, he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26.

Prosecutors argued Rittenhouse’s presence in the city that night provoked the violence, but Rittenhouse told Carlson he remained convinced he did what he had to in order to protect himself.

“It wasn’t Kyle Rittenhouse on trial in Wisconsin,” Rittenhouse said. “It was the right to self-defense on trial.”

Carlson, an outspoken critic of the media and Democrats, asked Rittenhouse whether he would “(hold) liars to account” for the way his story was portrayed. Rittenhouse didn’t close the door to an eventual defamation case, but didn’t promise one.

Carlson said it was Rittenhouse who brought up his ex-attorneys, Lin Wood and John Pierce, who handled his case in the early stages before Wood left and Pierce was dismissed.

Rittenhouse said he wanted to post bail in mid-September, but told Carlson his attorneys felt he was safer in an Illinois juvenile facility until November.

“They said I was safer in jail instead of at home with my family,” Rittenhouse told Carlson. “Eighty-seven days of not being with my family … trying to raise money so they could take it for their own benefit. Not trying to set me free.”

Wood, whose #FightBack Foundation raised money to help Rittenhouse post a $2 million bail, said in an interview he posted to his Telegram account Monday that Pierce was handling Rittenhouse’s criminal case at the time. Wood said at that point, Rittenhouse was facing death threats.

“John Pierce concluded, and I didn’t disagree, that he was safer in Illinois,” Wood said.

After raising money for Rittenhouse, Wood became one of the leading voices trying to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Pierce, who did not respond to an email sent Monday night to his law firm, moved on to defending many of the defendants charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Because Rittenhouse was found not guilty, both lawyers are seeking to have his bail money returned to them.

While Rittenhouse conducted this interview on a national stage just two days after being found not guilty, he told Carlson that he wanted to live a normal life, get a college degree, and possibly become a nurse or a lawyer.

“I don’t know where I’m going to go,” Rittenhouse said. “I’m going to lay low and live life.”