(NewsNation Now) — One of Kyle Rittenhouse’s former attorneys confirmed he is trying to get the $2 million he helped raise for the 18-year-old’s bail payment back for his organization, and he said tax law forbids him from simply giving it to Rittenhouse.
Lin Wood, a controversial defamation attorney, raised money through his FightBack Foundation to pay Rittenhouse’s bail last year. He said his foundation’s status as a 501(c)(3) charity means he cannot give the money to Rittenhouse.
“If I could I would do it,” Wood told NewsNation. He said he would like to use the money to help Rittenhouse with his legal bills, and is still open to doing that. However, he said he could not provide Rittenhouse with any money that doesn’t pay for part of his defense.
Rittenhouse’s current attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment left Tuesday night.
Rittenhouse told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield that the foundation was filing a motion in court to get it back in the moments before he was acquitted.
“He just was trying to grift that money back when he said he raised it for so I can be able to pay my legal bills,” Rittenhouse said in NewsNation’s exclusive interview with him Tuesday.
Rittenhouse said he wasn’t sure how much money he still had to pay.
Some, including Rittenhouse’s current attorney, Mark Richards, argue Rittenhouse is entitled to some of the returned bail money because it was partly comprised of other donations in his name.
“There’s going to be a fight over that,” Richards said after the verdict.
Wood counters that his organization actually spent $2.7 million on Rittenhouse’s defense before he and John Pierce, Rittenhouse’s former criminal defense attorney, were removed from the case.
Pierce told NewsNation in a statement he is not trying to get any of the bail money back. Pierce no longer works with the Fightback Foundation.
Wood said $150,000 of the $2 million they raised came from actor Ricky Schroder. Factoring in the other expenses, Wood says there is about $1.25 million left over that he would be willing to use to help pay Rittenhouse’s outstanding legal bills.
But Rittenhouse and he are not on great terms at the moment. In his NewsNation interview, Rittenhouse called Wood “insane” and said the lawyer “thinks he’s God.”
“That is insulting and mocking of God,” Wood said, professing his devout Christianity. He told NewsNation he would never say he was God.
It was not the only criticism Rittenhouse had for his former lawyer. He said he fired Wood and Pierce because he felt they were using him as a political donation machine and kept him in jail for longer than he needed to be. Rittenhouse made it clear in his interview he does not want to be associated with any political ideology.
“I never raised a dime off him for a cause, we raised money to help him,” Wood said. Though, Wood believes Rittenhouse may have been in jail even longer if it weren’t for his foundation.
“Fightback got out when nobody else would be willing to do it and we raised the money,” Wood said. “I did everything I could to get this boy out of jail.”
Pierce told NewsNation he didn’t “think anyone else could have done as much in so little time.”
Rittenhouse was charged in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and for wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27. He shot all three men in a chaotic Aug. 25, 2020 scene that the jury found entitled Rittenhouse to lethal self-defense.
Rittenhouse also was critical of Wood’s political stances. He accused Wood of being a QAnon conspiracy follower.
“He just says all these weird things like, ‘We’re going to keep that boy in jail, because there’s not going to be any civil or criminal cases come the election,’ which is just complete insanity,” Rittenhouse recalled.
Wood says he doesn’t know what QAnon is, and called Rittenhouse’s description of him “asinine” and may be based on what others tell him to say. According to Wood, he and Rittenhouse only spoke twice, and each was for less than five minutes.
Wood said he is still willing to help despite the harsh words in the press.
Wood says this spreadsheet shows what FightBack spent on Rittenhouse’s defense.