Law & Order

Kyle Rittenhouse Could Have A Defamation Lawsuit After Media Called Him Racist Murderer: Legal Experts

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Multiple media outlets, liberal pundits and Democratic politicians declared Kyle Rittenhouse a murderer and White supremacist, before and after he was acquitted of all charges, leading many to believe the 18-year-old could have a case for defamation lawsuits.

“It’s just breathtaking, some of the things being said, being written, I can understand in the initial shock over what happened and there is two people dead and riots in the streets happening in Kenosha back last year, people perhaps getting a few things wrong, but … the misinformation continues to flow to this day,” Guy Benson said Monday on “Outnumbered.”

“I saw example after example over the weekend of news articles from actual news organizations, supposedly with lawyers of editorial oversight, getting basic facts wrong about the case, about the trial, about the Jacob Blake police shooting from last summer that was sort of the triggering event of the rioting,” Benson continued. “Details, of course, matter … we have larger truths being spewed all over the place that are, in fact, not truths at all. Falsehoods.”

A jury found Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense at the Kenosha riots in August 2020 when he shot and killed two men, Joseph Rosenbaum, and Anthony Huber, and injured a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz. The 18-year-old was found not guilty on all five charges against him last Friday, including first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.

Cornell Law school professor William A. Jacobson told Fox News Digital that whether Rittenhouse has a defamation claim or not will turn on the specific words used against him.

“Generalized name-calling or offensive opinions will not suffice, nor will mere sloppiness or reliance on inaccurate media reports. For this purpose, at least, Rittenhouse was a public figure involved in a public controversy, and only specific false factual assertions harmful to his reputation that were known to be untrue or in reckless disregard of the truth even potentially give rise to a claim,” Jacobson said.

MSNBC host Tiffany Cross said racists in Congress “freely and celebrate this little murderous White supremacist,” an MSNBC guest dismissed the verdict as “what White people vote for” and Washington Post correspondent Philip Bump provided “analysis” in a piece titled, “Rittenhouse was acquitted, not validated.”

Outlets have also inaccurately reported Rittenhouse traveled across state lines with a gun and incorrectly reported Blake was killed by police.

A CNN guest credited the acquittal to the “infantilization” of Rittenhouse because of his young age and suggested White privilege was also a factor in the outcome.

Before the verdict, left-wing coverage of the case was just as vitriolic. MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson compared Rittenhouse to a “school shooter,” while MSNBC’s John Heilemann said he is “arguably a domestic terrorist.” MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace referred to him as a “vigilante,” and Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., used the “White supremacist” term when talking about Rittenhouse during an appearance on CNN in March. President Biden lumped Rittenhouse in with White supremacists in a video shared last year on Twitter.

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“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin said Rittenhouse murdered two people, and fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg reiterated that sentiment on Monday while discussing his acquittal. Far-left “Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur called him “deeply racist” and said he “murdered a couple of people.”

“A white, Trump-supporting, MAGA-loving Blue Lives Matter social media partisan, 17 years old, picks up a gun, drives from one state to another with the intent to shoot people,” Heilemann said of Rittenhouse last year, again repeating the falsehood about him crossing a state line armed.

“The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton” show ran a montage of audio of media attacks on Rittenhouse, with Travis calling it “shameful.”

“Not a single person saying that feels the least bit of shame because they don’t actually go on air to tell people the truth,” Sexton said.

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When asked specifically if the term “White supremacist” is enough for Rittenhouse to move forward with defamation claims, Jacobson said there isn’t a “simple” answer to a complicated situation.

“Whether calling someone a ‘white supremacist’ is legally actionable will depend on whether a specific state’s law considers it an opinion, in which case it would be protected speech, or a statement of fact, in which case it could be actionable if knowingly false,” Jacobson said.

The verdict infuriated the liberal media, which has continued one-sided coverage of Rittenhouse despite the acquittal. The Daily… (Read more)