KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- The lawyer who defended Kyle Rittenhouse in his Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting case said putting the Antioch teenager on the stand was vital this outcome.
By the time Mark Richards spoke to the press, Rittenhouse was already on his way home and trying to put everything behind him. Had he been convicted of any count, he would have been taken directly into custody.
"He has a huge sense of relief for what the jury did to him today," Richards said. "He wishes none of this would have ever happened."
Richards said he thinks his client feels remorse for killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.
"When we prepared Kyle, and we worked on his testimony, there were things we couldn't talk about in my office because it got too emotional and he couldn't handle it. He's in, you know, counseling for PTSD. So he doesn't sleep at night," he said.
The Kenosha trial captured the nation's attention, and became a flashpoint for racial justice and the second amendment. But Richards said he doesn't think his client wants a part in anyone's cause. He believes the wisest decision Rittenhouse made for himself was to fire his original defense team who, Richards said, wanted to do exactly that.
"They wanted to use Kyle for a cause, and that is something that I think was inappropriate," Richards said. "I told him when I first met him when he was in custody, that if he was looking for somebody to go off on a crusade, I wasn't his lawyer."
Richards admitted he doesn't want to see people walking around with assault rifles like his client did last summer.
"I personally don't like people carrying AR-15s around. There was so much anger and so much fear in Kenosha on August 25, that people did arm themselves," he said.
He also said he felt he had to put Rittenhouse on the stand in his own defense, at least partially because of the prosecution's tactics.
"I was a prosecutor," Richards noted. "And I never went after somebody like they did."
Richards also said that during mock trials, the defense fared much better when Rittenhouse testified. Tat clearly paid off.