Rittenhouse speaks with Banfield (and answers your questions)

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(NewsNation Now) — Kyle Rittenhouse opened up days after a verdict felt around the country. NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield interviewed Kyle Rittenhouse in a way no one else has done — in a long-ranging conversation that touched on race, his future, regrets and his opinion about his former attorneys.

Also, unlike any interview of Rittenhouse so far, Banfield aired the entire interview unedited and uninterrupted. Banfield is a veteran court reporter. She has consistently covered the Rittenhouse trial on her primetime show, “Banfield.”

Rittenhouse said he does not want to get involved in politics “at all” and believes his case “should never have been used as a cause” for any political agendas.

Some have called him a vigilante. Others believe he is a patriot and have contributed money to support him.

“With the donors who donated, I don’t believe I owe them a political stance, but I do owe them a huge thank you,” Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse also touched on race during the interview. The 18-year-old believes the case had nothing to do with race, and believes a Black man in his position would have been acquitted of the same charge.

Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27, in Kenosha, Wisconsin during a night of protests after police shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in 2020.

During the trial, one of the focal points for online commentators was him crying on the witness stand. Rittenhouse said that stemmed from having post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rittenhouse said he may also change his appearance to avoid being recognized. He told Banfield he may grow a beard and try to lose some weight. He’s moving out of Illinois to parts unknown. “America,” was the only answer he would give when asked where he plans to move.

He also opened up about his former attorneys. The Illinois teen said he believes he was used as a pawn by his former attorneys, John Pierce and Lin Wood.

Rittenhouse said Pierce “arranged” for him to be at a bar full of Proud Boys members, who he thought were just “construction dudes.”

In the interview, Rittenhouse called Wood “insane.” and said Wood thinks he is God.

He also addressed his own future.

The 18-year-old wants to reenroll in classes at Arizona State University and hopes to attend in person. He’d like to pursue a career in nursing.

In his trial, his defense team successfully argued Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense. He was acquitted on five charges ranging from endangering safety to murder. He could have gone to prison for the rest of his life if he was convicted.

Critics of the decision have argued that Rittenhouse created the danger himself by showing up to a volatile situation with a gun. During the trial, Rittenhouse said he was there to protect his community from looters. Though he lives in Illinois, his father lives in Kenosha.

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