John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge has failed again. His extradition plan for his client Kyle Rittenhouse fell flat on its face, a judge has ruled in favor of extraditing the 17-year old to Wisconsin to stand trial for the Kenosha shootings. His lawyers immediately leveraged the decision to attempt to raise more money. The vehicle for the fundraising, the #FightBack Foundation, has already come under fire.
Immediate Troubles for the #FightBack Foundation
The #FightBack Foundation’s troubles commenced as soon as word spread of the involvement of John Pierce. Pierce’s slew of troubling issues were propelled into the spotlight, and he stepped down from the #FightBack Board. This had no impact, however, on his ability to receive monies donated by the general public to the Foundation.
Since that rocky beginning, additional noteworthy developments have ensued, including:
- The addition of a new member to the Foundation’s Board.
- A #FightBack Foundation-hosted fundraiser for Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) senatorial campaign.
- Seeming transparency and clarity reducing actions of the Foundation with respect to donations received.
- The Friday night post-extradition solicitation from Rittenhouse’s lawyers which stated “Kyle’s bond is $2 million” and “#Fightback needs to raise $1 million before the hearing on Monday.”
A New #FightBack Board Member
A new board member was announced in September. The individual is Bernie Kerik. He has been connected to Rudy Giuliani — Pierce’s ex-client and “good friend” — since as far back as 1993, and in 2000 was appointed the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department by the former mayor. Kerik subsequently worked as a founding member of Giuliani’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners.
The former NYPD commissioner is no stranger to problematic financial activity. He plead guilty to 8 felonies in 2009, including tax fraud and lying on a loan application. Earlier this year, Kerik received a full pardon from President Trump.
A #FightBack Foundation Fundraiser, The “Collins Crew” & Roger Stone
A recent Pierce tweet includes pictures from a “Lowcountry fundraiser” hosted by #Fightback Foundation for Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). The fundraiser was deemed a “great success.”
One wonders if individuals donating to the Foundation are aware that fancy fundraisers are being held to support a Senatorial campaign. While Kyle Rittenhouse is still sitting in jail.
Is this within the #FightBack mission statement?
A few days later, another individual with felonious activity in his past entered the picture. The Hill reported Roger Stone plans to campaign for Collins. Stone was convicted of 7 felonies; President Trump commuted the sentences.
A marketing item for Collins includes a picture of a “Collins Crew,” which adds another convicted felon, George Papadopoulos, to the picture.
Flashbacks to the Lincoln Project “Law & Order” Video
Stone and Papadopoulos appear in the “Law & Order” video produced by the Lincoln Project. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pierce does as well.
Pierce is visible at around the 21 second mark, along with his ex-Pierce Bainbridge partners, Caroline Polisi and Christopher N. LaVigne.
An article titled “Judge Orders Former Trump Campaign Aide Papadopoulos Behind Bars,” which appeared in NPR captures the scene.
The Latest Solicitation & Transparency Issues
The lawyers for Rittenhouse declared on Friday night “Kyle’s bond is $2 million” and “#FightBack needs to raise $1 million before the hearing on Monday.” Omitted from the $1 million solicitation, was the fact that #FightBack has already raised more than $2.1 million over a month ago; and that the $2 million bond had been set by the court as early as August.
A lawyer named CJ Mordock did not mince words in voicing an opinion regarding this latest dubious solicitation.
Seeming transparency and clarity reducing steps by the Foundation are worth noting. The main #FightBack webpage previously contained a donations tracker. The number remained stagnant for weeks. A comparison of the tracker on the main page on September 29 to the main page tracker on October 19, illustrates the number remained exactly the same: $2,100,344. (When opening the two preceding links, give a few seconds for the dollar values to populate.)
Concerns were reportedly expressed about the absence of updates. It appears the response was to remove the tracker from the main page.
As it currently appears to stand, a separate webpage cryptically represents “more than $2.1 million” has been raised. It appears this separate page only tracks donations for Rittenhouse’s bail. A screenshot from Sunday night, November 1, is below.
- The address for this bail tracking page is: https://fightback-foundation-inc.snwbll.com/defendkyle
- The main page address is: https://fightback.law/. There is apparently a number to text which then directs a potential donor to the other page.
It’s been over 30 days since the initial $2,100,334 representation, yet nothing new has been offered other than “more than $2.1 million dollars.” As well as, hey, we need another $1 million, and we need it over the weekend.
Along similar lines, an early version of the Fightback webpage disclosed that donations were allowed to flow to “affiliated law firms.”
After receiving scrutiny, this disclosure was removed.
What’s Going on with the Rittenhouse Defense?
As for Kyle Rittenhouse, while Pierce was busy sharing news about a “Lowcountry fundraiser,” three days later he failed at his client’s hearing.
The failure came as no surprise to anyone who listened to the pre-hearing analysis provided by lawyer Robert Barnes.
Barnes has been a vocal critic, opining that Pierce is “incompetent” and a “clueless idiot.”
Barnes has repeatedly proven to be several steps ahead of the Rittenhouse lawyer.
Is Kyle Rittenhouse being exploited?
The Fightback tracker said over $2.1 million had been raised by September 29. Presumably, additional funds were raised over the next 30 days leading up to the October 30 hearing.
Yet, on the Friday night after the hearing, Rittenhouse’s lawyers were soliciting $1 million in weekend donations.
On Sunday morning, another tweet claimed they are $750,000 short.
John Pierce says the money is needed for Kyle Rittenhouse.
What about John Pierce? Does Pierce need money?
- Pierce’s law firm reportedly defaulted on an estimated $65 million debt to litigation funder Virage Capital Management earlier this year.
- Pierce absconded with $2.5 million in February from an essential payday lender and had a related $4 million money judgment entered against Pierce controlled entities in June of this year.
- Pierce’s firm repeatedly pledged the same collateral in exchange for tens in millions in cash from multiple lenders, most of which apparently remains unpaid.
- Pierce entities were sued by four cash advance lenders this year.
- Pierce entities were sued by four vendors of legal services this year.
- Pierce was accused of breaching child support obligations this year.
- Pierce child support issues came up in a proceeding where a second domestic violence restraining order was entered against him; a fact he presumably did not disclose to Wendy Rittenhouse during this event.
- Pierce has also copped to having issues with “substance abuse and other addictive behaviors,” these things can get expensive.
- Pierce said in November 2019 that he owed: (i) over $1 million in taxes, (ii) $90,000 to Citibank, (iii) $27,000 to his ex-wife’s mother and (iv) was basically beyond broke.
Kyle Rittenhouse remains in jail.
A 17-year old, facing double-murder charges, potentially being used.
A fancy “Lowcountry fundraiser” for a Senatorial candidate, deemed a “great success.”
Yet, three days later, Rittenhouse’s lawyer’s performance at extradition, a “great failure.”
Rittenhouse is shipped off to Wisconsin.
Claims of a whopping shortfall on bail money, even though over $2.1 million had been raised over a month ago.
Individuals involved with the Foundation, or close to a Senatorial candidate supported by the Foundation, have been involved in felonious activity.
John Pierce has a heavily checkered past.
Tons of information is out there.
Is Kyle Rittenhouse being exploited?
Draw your own conclusions.