Keeping it Classy. Kyle Rittenhouse Lawyer John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge
“I think it’s frankly vile and disgusting and in extreme poor taste.”
The quote above is from Kimberly Motley — an attorney for one of the men shot in Kenosha — about the Kyle Rittenhouse merchandising efforts.
John M. Pierce is the cash strapped attorney pushing the controversial Kyle Rittenhouse, in Pierce’s words, “swag.” Two vendors have already stepped away shortly after news hit of their involvement in the merchandising. Pierce announced today, however, that an unidentified new vendor is apparently on board. A lawyer for one of the individuals shot by Rittenhouse characterized the sales effort as “vile and disgusting.”
The involvement of the Harvard Law School and University of Notre Dame educated Pierce is intriguing. An intrigue elevated given the deluge of troubling news about Pierce’s personal and professional finances reported over the last several months.
A small sample of media reports is below.
The Daily Beast — “The Lawyer Raising Money for Kyle Rittenhouse Nearly Sank His Own Law Firm.”
USA Today — “Lawyer of accused Kenosha shooter has troubled financial past, steps away from defense fund that raised $700K.”
Chicago Tribune — “Kyle Rittenhouse lawyer steps away from criminal case, hours after prosecutors allege fundraising effort ‘provides ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud.’”
ABC News — “Controversial attorney withdraws from Kyle Rittenhouse criminal case, launches new fundraising appeal.”
Daily Mail — “Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyer ‘threatened to kill his ex-wife’ and is in massive personal and professional debt, yet manages to cling onto Kenosha shooter’s case and is entrusted with teen’s fundraising.”
Pierce’s pre-Rittenhouse firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, was reported earlier this year to have an approximate debt of $70 million; an estimated $65 million to a litigation funder in Houston, Texas named Virage Capital Management. Virage has backed other lawyers who’ve piqued the interest of federal authorities. In addition, the firm had strikingly unusual financial activity in and around February 2020.
The ex-lawyer for Rudy Giuliani apparently has massive personal debt as well. An income statement Pierce prepared in November 2019 said he owed:
- $90,000 to Citibank
- $27,000 to his ex-wife’s mother
- over $1 million in taxes
Both Pierce and Wendy Rittenhouse say that she has full control over any funds donated. Yet Pierce has recently suggested his massive debts will be handled in due course. Given the amount of time the attorney spends on Twitter, rather than, you know, doing actual legal work, one wonders the basis for Pierce’s statement.
Lots of information is swirling about the former Tulsi Gabbard attorney who’s had issues with booze, cocaine and violence. A brilliant two-minute video created by Jennifer Sulkess provides a level of clarity to a complex situation.
Pierce’s speaks during the video about the fundraising. Quite interesting.
It is a fascinating and fluid situation.
Time will tell what comes next.
Addendum. Pierce had previously referred to his former lawyers at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP as “70 of the most elite litigators on the planet.” With the firm having cratered, Pierce is now singing a different tune. Which was it? An “elite” group of lawyers or a “Seal Team of Hacks?”