What is Going on with the Lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse & The #Fightback Foundation?
Big Media is now on the curious case of John M. Pierce. Both the Daily Beast and USA Today have published articles exposing some of the mess at his law firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP. Pierce was promoted as spearheading a #Fightback Foundation, which claims to be collecting donations to “bring lawsuits to check the lies” of the “radical left,” as well as for Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense. Only after Pierce’s disastrous financial issues were widely exposed, did Pierce claim to resign from the Foundation. Be that as it may, questions remain.
Pierce has said he models himself after Donald J. Trump. Perhaps it is unsurprising that Pierce Bainbridge was hired by Trump allies Rudy Giuliani, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The firm has also been connected to lawyers Marc Mukasey (ex-outside counsel for Pierce Bainbridge who quit citing ethical concerns), Robert J. Costello (co-counsel) and Harmeet Dhillon (co-counsel); Costello and Mukasey are reportedly close with Giuliani; Dhillon also fundraises for the President.
Pierce Owes Money All Over Town
Given Pierce’s financial distress and admission that he suffers from “addictive behaviors,” reasonable questions to ask:
Is one of John M. Pierce’s “addictions” living off of other people’s money and failing to pay it back?
Is Pierce in this primarily to line his own and his law firm’s pockets?
A list of some of those Pierce and/or his law firms owe money (or have owed money) to within the last year, totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, is astounding.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- California State Taxation Authorities
- Ex-Wife’s Mother
- Virage Capital Management
- Creative Capital Funding
- Karish Kapital
- Slate Advance
- West Coast Business
- Transperfect Legal Solutions
- Homeowner / Landlord in California
“A Goddamn Free-For All with a Narcissistic Sociopath at The Helm.”
The seeming erratic behavior of Pierce is also a red flag. His recent Twitter postings have brought derision from all angles; in addition the Daily Beast references concerning alleged missives to Pierce’s ex-wife from a “Declaration in support of my request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order against Respondent, John Pierce” filed in July 2019. Alleged primary source texts are included with the filing; one such message referenced in the Daily Beast is below.
Tulsi hired the firm; two “$50 Million” lawsuits were filed on her behalf. The threat above was made just two days after the first complaint was filed; Tulsi appears to have paid Pierce Bainbridge $50,000 with campaign finance funds.
Both suits were busts. Techdirt.com opined that the Clinton complaint signed by David L. Hecht, now with Hecht Partners, was “laughable” and said Hecht should be “embarrassed.” $50K appears to not have been well spent.
In his alleged “over sixty” abusive texts to his ex-wife, Pierce also took aim at “AOC,” presumably Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Two ex-Pierce Bainbridge partners shared illuminating views on Pierce in late 2018. One called Pierce a “p*ssy and a fu*king lunatic” another a “narcissistic sociopath.”
Questions Persist About The #Fightback Foundation
The Foundation itself also appears to have issues:
1. Where is the Money? There have been shifting narratives about the Foundation, Pierce was on the front lines; now he claims to have stepped away; perceived lack of clarity on donations to Rittenhouse. At bottom, is any money going directly to Kyle Rittenhouse or his family? Or is the money going directly to the lawyers who expect the general public to: “Just Trust Us”?
2. Who will keep track and approved the hours billed by Pierce Bainbridge P.C.? Fee statements from the Pierce led Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP submitted in a Los Angeles litigation show multiple attorney entries billing more than 24 hours in a single day. Furthermore, Pierce appears to have spent a good deal of time on Twitter. Will this be considered “billable” work?
3. Will There Be Genuine Transparency? One of the Foundation attorneys, on August 31, 2020, tweeted that over $600,000 had been raised from over 11K donors, and claimed there would be “transparency.” Does a tweet with dollar figures constitute genuine “transparency?” Will the Foundation open up its books?
4. Who are the “Affiliated” law firms? Is there an established list? Specific delineated criteria? Anything? Or can the Foundation make it up as they go along?
5. What happens if the Rittenhouse Family decides to hire an actual criminal defense firm to lead the representation? If the family shifts gears and goes in a different law firm direction, what will come of donations the Foundation received that were earmarked for Rittenhouse? Will the Foundation continue to fund the Rittenhouse defense?
6. What About Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & LLP Creditors? If Foundation funds flow to Pierce and his firm, does he have an obligation to pay off his existing debts? As background, “Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP” owes tens of millions of dollars; Pierce forms “Pierce Bainbridge P.C.” in May 2020. A few months later, Pierce embarks on a fundraising crusade, which permits funds to flow to this purported “new” entity. This is an “interesting” sequence of events.
7. Why is Pierce leading a double-murder defense? John Pierce is a civil lawyer, not a criminal one. Pierce ran a law firm into the ground. Many have complained about “a perceived lack of organization.” Pierce says he got out of rehab earlier this year. Are people confident that Pierce is up to the task? Was the decision to designate Pierce as lead counsel an informed one?
John Pierce has concerning issues:
- violent temper (Pierce’s ex-wife declaration also says “he lost his job for physically assaulting another employee” at K&L Gates)
- characterized as a “lunatic” and “sociopath” by two of his ex-partners
- threats of abusiveness to his ex-wife which resulted in a domestic violence temporary restraining order request
- failure to honor payment obligations (both personal and professional)
- mismanagement of a law firm which disintegrated from around 70 attorneys to approximately currently 4 attorneys.
- no experience leading a murder trial defense
- personally broke
- rants and raves on Twitter, takes issue with Rittenhouse supporters who don’t agree with him or ask simple questions, resorts to sophomoric insults and blocking accounts
Is John M. Pierce best for Kyle Rittenhouse?