The website, which went live late last week, features more than 30 apparel items and accessories emblazoned with the logo “Free Kyle” and a slogan, “Self-defense is a right, not a privilege” — a direct quote from Rittenhouse, his attorneys say. There’s a beanie ($21.99), a hoodie ($39.99) and a T-shirt ($21.99).
By midday Tuesday, the website had collected nearly $60,000 from more than 800 donors, according to a counter on the site.
Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide in the killings of two men, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, on Aug. 25, following protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He is also charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly shooting and injuring a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, along with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18 and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.
Since his arrest, Rittenhouse has emerged as a folk hero for the far right. The #FightBack Foundation raised $2 million in bail money that secured his freedom in late November. He is awaiting trial while living with his family in an undisclosed location in the Midwest. Far-right and gun rights groups including the National Association for Gun Rights and American Wolf 689 have raised money for living expenses.
John Pierce, a Los Angeles-based attorney for Rittenhouse, said the website is controlled by the teen’s family and is not connected to any outside organization. Pierce started out on Rittenhouse’s criminal defense team until he stepped down to focus on filing future civil defamation cases involving the family. He is not receiving payment from the funds the website generates, he said.