On September 2 2020, Twitter user @JoshuaPotash shared the following screenshot, which was purportedly a tweet in which a lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse — a teenager charged with killing two people — said that his client had fired the first shots of a “Second American Revolution” at protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin:
Screenshots of the tweet later spread on Facebook.
In case the tweet is deleted: Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyer declaring that his client started a second revolutionary war.
The screenshot did not include a date, but attributed the following commentary to user @CaliKidJMP:
Kyle Rittenhouse will go down in American history alongside that brave unknown patriot at Lexington Green who fired “The Shot Heard Round The World” on April 19, 1775. A Second American Revolution against Tyranny has begun. #FightBack
Background on Rittenhouse and the Kenosha Shooting
On August 25 2020, a gunman shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin as they attended a demonstration to support Jacob Blake, who two days previously had been shot multiple times in the back by law enforcement responding to calls about a disturbance.
Mr. Rittenhouse, currently in custody in Lake County, Ill., was charged [on August 27 2020] with six criminal counts, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, recklessly endangering safety and possession of a dangerous weapon…. A judge will decide at a hearing on Sept. 25 whether Mr. Rittenhouse will be extradited to Wisconsin, where he would be tried as an adult. Mr. Rittenhouse could face life in prison if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide.
On Twitter, the account @CaliKidJMP existed and belonged to a lawyer named John Pierce, whose bio read:
Managing Partner & Founder of PB; fmr partner @ Latham, Quinn & fmr co-Global Practice Area Ldr @ K&L Gates; Harvard Law grad; veteran & loving/proud father.
Several of the user’s tweets referenced Rittenhouse, including one claiming Twitter had censored two of Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers — including Pierce:
We were able to confirm that this account indeed belongs to John Pierce. Pierce himself confirmed that he represented Rittenhouse.
John Pierce’s ‘Second American Revolution’ Tweet
Although we were unable to find Pierce’s tweet on his timeline, we quickly found that it had been archived. On September 1 2020, Pierce tweeted the commentary in question, alongside an article from the highly questionable site and known disinformation purveyor, the Gateway Pundit.
A viral tweet included a purported screenshot from John Pierce, a lawyer representing alleged Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, framing the shooting as the start of a “Second Revolutionary War.” Although the tweet was unavailable, it was authentic. It had apparently been removed by Twitter — or, as Pierce put it, “censored.”