Former U.S. assistant attorney Neama Rahmani has a dire warning for Kyle Rittenhouse: the first Stalinist show trial against him might be over, but the legal persecution of him isn’t.
Rahmani, a Harvard law school graduate and practicing attorney in California, told this to the Daily Caller, likening the Rittenhouse case to OJ’s trial to explain why recently acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse will likely face massive civil suits quite soon:
“Let’s not forget, the standard in a criminal case is the highest under the law. In a civil case, it’s a much lower standard. You don’t need a unanimous jury. it’s just preponderance of the evidence — 51 percent, slightly more than not.
That’s why OJ was acquitted on the criminal case but was found civilly liable and had a big judgment against him,” Rahmani said. “Rittenhouse may be happy right now, but he still may be sued by the victim’s families, and he may lose that civil case.”
Rahmani also noted that while the prosecutors in Rittenhouse’s criminal case might have been incompetent, those he faces in a high-stakes civil case where millions of dollars are on the line likely wouldn’t be:
“They dropped the ball in so many ways,” Rahmani said, referring to Binger and Co., “I’m sure the civil attorneys will be lawful and prepared and will handle the case very differently.”
So, Mr. Rittenhouse will likely face a team of highly effective attorneys in a civil trial (or trials), where the plaintiff(s) need only prove that the preponderance of the evidence (51%) supports their claim That’s contrasted to the criminal court, where incompetent prosecutors needed to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he acted unlawfully and were unable to do so.
Though he can still claim self-defense as an affirmative defense if an intentional tort claim is brought against him, it might be harder for him to prove that he acted completely lawfully, and thus avoid liability. And, while the burden is normally on the prosecution or plaintiff to prove what happened, if a defendant raises an affirmative defense, as Mr. Rittenhouse would likely do, the defendant must prove that the evidence supports their affirmative defense.
All that’s to say that while Mr. Rittenhouse has a very valid claim of self-defense, as the criminal court found, these trials will be long, expensive cases that will likely prove to be heavy financial burdens for him.
Yet worse, Mr. Rahmani predicts that Mr. Rittenhouse would have a hard time winning a suit against President Joe Biden, who released an ad that defamed Mr. Rittenhouse as a white supremacist, saying:
“You’re talking about [former President Donald] Trump not denouncing white supremacists, then you show a picture of Rittenhouse. In my opinion, it’s somewhat attenuated. I can see a judge tossing it because someone needs to take a logical leap to get to the defamation… it’s far from clear in my opinion.”
This is the infamous ad to which Mr. Rahmani refers:
There’s no other way to put it: the President of the United States refused to disavow white supremacists on the debate stage last night. pic.twitter.com/Q3VZTW1vUV
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 30, 2020
However, there is a glimmer of hope for Mr. Rittenhouse; he might have a case against the news and media figures that defamed him. For example, Mr. Rahmani discusses this tweet from Ayanna Pressley:
A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15.
He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives.
Fix your damn headlines.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 27, 2020
Referring to it, he said “That’s a much stronger case. Domestic terrorism — now he’s been acquitted. There’s zero evidence that he’s a terrorist. Domestic terrorism is a very strong defamation case.”
Finally, contrasting the potential claim against President Biden with the potential claim against Ayanna Pressley, Mr. Rahmani said:
“White supremacist, a little more difficult because that’s a much broader statement. Domestic terrorism is probably the best claim, in my opinion, because I don’t see any evidence to support that allegation.”
Still, while there is the possibility that Mr. Rittenhouse could recover large sums from those media figures, as Mr. Sandman did, it’s possible that that money would just have to be poured back into the civil suits against him that Mr. Rahmani predicted and, if he loses, the money might have to be used to pay the families of his assailants.
Whatever the outcomes of those many likely lawsuits, what is clear is that Mr. Rahmani is right and Mr. Rittenhouse’s legal troubles are likely just beginning.