Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old online college student, doesn’t appear to have the financial means to pay any reward if he faces — and loses — a civil trial in the shooting deaths of the two men he was acquitted of killing on Friday.
However, Rittenhouse has shown to be a prodigious fundraiser when it comes to raising funds for his bail and defense in the midst of the tragic rioting that erupted last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Ion Meyn, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, “He’s a public person now, and money could flow in.” “I’m not persuaded there’s nothing there,” says the narrator. More than $2 million has already been raised for his legal defense by supporters.
If Rittenhouse was charged with wrongful killing in a civil lawsuit, he may claim self-defense, as he did in the criminal case. He claims he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioting, but he was attacked and feared for his life when he shot three individuals, two of whom were critically wounded.
However, legal experts believe that the standard of proof for civil litigants, which is based on a preponderance of evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt, is far lower than that faced by Kenosha prosecutors at the criminal trial. “All you have to establish in a civil action is carelessness,” Rory little, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, said. “Did his actions fall below the level of care that a reasonable person would exercise?”
Little noted that Rittenhouse “might argue, ‘I didn’t want to murder anyone I simply panicked.'” “‘We didn’t think the typical person would do what you did,’ the jury may still say. You lose if your behavior is perceived to be less than that.”
In addition, a civil case would allow a jury to consider a wider variety of evidence.
Judge Bruce Schroeder in the criminal case against Rittenhouse forbade jurors from examining Rittenhouse’s ties to the sometimes-violent, far-flung gangs.