After the arrest of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who was accused of fatally killing two people and seriously injuring a third during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020, Snopes heard numerous rumors about people calling him defended – including a lawyer named John Pierce.
For example, there was a viral Twitter post claiming that Pierce was a member of the Rittenhouse legal defense team and that his client's alleged decision to open fire on the protest was "shot that was heard around the world" on April 19, 1775, which started the American War of Independence and created the United States
If the tweet is deleted: Kyle Rittenhouse's attorney declares that his client has started a second war of independence. pic.twitter.com/otXnn16hvn
– Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) September 2, 2020
The @CaliKidMP Twitter handle is indeed for a person named John Pierce. Pierce is the founder of the Pierce Bainbridge law firm and lives in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, according to a LinkedIn page linked to the Twitter account. The law firm describes itself as a "state-of-the-art litigation law firm dedicated to the lost art of fighting through legal proceedings". Her previous clients include US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Next, we used the State Bar of California attorney database to find out if Pierce had an active license to practice law in the state. He did from this report.
We then looked for evidence to determine if he was one of the defense attorneys representing Rittenhouse. He is charged, among other things, with first degree premeditated murder, which entails a life sentence. Snopes found reports from media outlets such as Reuters, the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Insider, WISN 12-Milwaukee, and Fox News that actually named Pierce as an attorney fighting the teenager's charges.
The Reuters report states:
"John Pierce told Reuters Thursday that he and his colleagues at Pierce Bainbridge would get justice for Kyle Rittenhouse …"
As further evidence, Pierce said on Twitter that he is "coordinating an entire special forces team to have HALO step in" regarding Rittenhouse's case. Based on that statement and the news reports, we felt it was right to designate Pierce as the teenager's lawyer.
Then we searched Pierce's Twitter account for evidence of his alleged testimony: "Kyle Rittenhouse will be born with the brave, unknown patriot in Lexington Green who on April 19, 1775; The Shot Heard Round The World" ; fired, will go down in American history. A second American revolution against tyranny has started #FightBack. "
Plain and simple. # FightBack pic.twitter.com/TpyGc6K6Ot
– Lin Wood (@LLinWood) September 3, 2020
"Censorship. Plain and simple," Wood wrote, suggesting that the social media site had mistakenly removed Pierce's comment comparing its clients' actions to the start of the Revolutionary War.
Around noon on the same day, Pierce said he was "back from the Twitter penalty box" and said the platform had removed the tweet in question. He also shared an article on a website called Reclaim The Net, devoted to the goal of "pushing back against big tech and media gatekeepers," which said:
"Twitter blocked the account of John Pierce, Kyle Rittenhouse's foremost attorney, via a tweet comparing Rittenhouse to the 'unknown patriot' who fired the opening shot of the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775, with which the American Revolutionary War began. ”
#FightBack #fearless #FreeKyle @LLinWood @michellemalkin @MarinaMedvin @TuckerCarlson https://t.co/xFwxQ4aIBL
– John Pierce (@CaliKidJMP) September 3, 2020
Based on this activity on Pierce and Wood's Twitter accounts and the fact that Pierce was part of Rittenhouse's legal defense team, we are correctly assessing this claim. The lawyer said the teenager would "go down in history" to start a second American War of Independence.