Hailed as a Hero at Conference, Rittenhouse Warns of Lawsuits

Organization welcomes 18-year-old, who says 'justice was served'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2021 4:13 PM CST
Rittenhouse, Hailed as a Hero, Suggests Media Suits Ahead
Kyle Rittenhouse, left, waves to cheering fans as he arrives for a panel discussion at the Turning Point USA America Fest event Monday in Phoenix. The panel discussion, called "Kenosha on Camera," came a month after Rittenhouse's acquittal on charges in the Kenosha shootings in 2020.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – Given a hero's welcome at a conservative youth conference in Phoenix, Kyle Rittenhouse told the crowd he was the victim of a government attack. "My trial was an example of them trying to come after our Second Amendment rights, our right to defend ourselves and trying to take our weapons," he said in a panel discussion, per the Washington Post. In an interview with Fox News, the 18-year-old brought up the possibility of lawsuits over news media coverage, reports Fox. Asked if he felt vindicated by the verdicts last month in his criminal trial, Rittenhouse said, "I feel like justice was served on the criminal side but there's going to be some accountability coming."

Rittenhouse took the stage Monday at the Phoenix Convention Center to pyrotechnics, music, and a standing ovation from the 6,700 or so attendees at the Turning Point USA event. It's the same conference, AmericaFest, that heard a call this week to "ambush" Dr. Anthony Fauci from Jesse Watters, a Fox News host. Some Republicans criticized the organization for welcoming Rittenhouse, with one calling the invitation "glorifying someone who fatally shot two people and injured another" in an opinion piece for NBC News.

A spokesman for Turning Point USA, which supports former President Donald Trump's false claim that he actually won the 2020 presidential election, defended the decision, saying people want to hear from Rittenhouse. "You know, he didn't ask for it, but he became this cultural symbol, a touch point of self-defense," Andrew Kolvet said. Rittenhouse said he's not being paid to attend any events on his personal appearance tour, per Newsweek. "I haven't been offered a penny," he said, "and I wouldn't accept a penny because I'm out here taking back my character telling the world who I am and defending myself in the public opinion." (Read more Kyle Rittenhouse stories.)

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