As Rittenhouse law firm trial heads into its third day, Rittenhouse chief Donald Fein says it is “extremely difficult to move a government case” against his lawyers, while Donald Trump tweets about the acquittal & calls it “incredible.”
Donald Trump on Monday hailed as “incredible” the acquittal of senior lawyers with the Rittenhouse law firm who were charged with allegedly concocting a fatal drug overdose to try to bust a drug dealer by persuading friends to sign affidavits implicating the dealer.
Donald Trump proclaims victory for Rittenhouse lawyers in drug-test use case Read more
Trump also tweeted that the attorneys “remain strongly committed to our clients”, and suggested that prosecutors in the case might have behaved unethically.
“Even though there is NO EVIDENCE that any crime was committed, and the ‘victim’ was a totally inebriated MAN, the attorney General is now investigating them for crimes. This is incredible,” he wrote.
Trump added: “We all know that prosecutors are almost always wrong, especially in cases like these where their office charges people and loses, only to have the outcome reversed.”
Shortly after, Donald Fein – the chief partner in the Rittenhouse law firm where the two Rittenhouse executives were at the centre of the legal trial – said in a statement issued by his firm that the acquittal had been achieved through “extremely difficult to move a government case” and that the company had just moved its “operations and operations practices out of Philadelphia and back to Philadelphia”.
The statement continued: “This is just the first such move, part of our larger strategic shift to emphasis work done globally over the location of those work places.”
But by mid-afternoon it seemed the episode had lost its impact, as Fein’s firm issued a second statement which read: “It remains extremely difficult to move a government case and defending one in trial is no easy task. Accordingly, we feel it is in the best interest of our clients and the law firm to devote all necessary energy and resources to our current clients and business.”
Rittenhouse officials said that despite his earlier statement, Fein would not be taking any questioners about the ongoing proceedings, nor would any further information be released, except by way of a pre-dawn statement to the media at 5am on Tuesday.
This was not altogether unexpected. Before its Friday decision to acquit, Fein had admitted that Rittenhouse’s policy of “reasonable doubt” – allowing its lawyers to ask potential witnesses why they wouldn’t remember certain things – went against the requirement of probable cause, which required that witnesses were believed to have credible information.
But he further admitted that Rittenhouse management had previously backed the policy even though it was “not a good policy to have”. It was an off-the-cuff admission and still the jury was about to deliberate over whether Rittenhouse’s handling of its own defense and of its police account was proper.
The Rittenhouse executives who were acquitted had declined requests for comment on Monday.
But a promotional website for a documentary about the case urged visitors to tell the court and the attorneys involved “there was more to this story”.
The site, Friends of Rittenhouse, was set up by Susan Katauskas, a film-maker from Philadelphia, who said that she had spent $100,000 in cash on the promotion. “This is a story about how no one is above the law,” it read.
Attorneys used on the case have routinely declined to comment for fear of jeopardizing their cases. The two officials acquitted on Friday declined comment on Monday.
At the end of the trial on Friday, Chief Judge Myron Thompson urged the lawyers for both sides not to comment publicly. He instructed them to instead remain silent.
The trial, before judge Thompson, was the product of a grand jury investigation into whether Rittenhouse-led attempts to alert doctors to an overdose of an informant for the state attorney general’s office constituted violations of an informant’s constitutional rights.
The judge previously had seen evidence that suggested that police had doctored statements after informants had died, saying: “That’s not an independent statement. That’s our statements for the grand jury.”
He had not yet decided the case before he was succeeded by the newest judge.