Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of murdering two people. He recently announced that he plans to sue people like Whoopie Goldberg, LeBron James, and Joe Biden for calling him a murderer, calling his trial tears fake, and claiming he has ties to white supremacists. This episode of LegalEagle discusses the merits of such a lawsuit.
LegalEagle says that Rittenhouse is most likely a limited-purpose public figure, which means he will have a harder time than a private individual getting a court to rule in his favor. "Only specific false factual assertions harmful to his reputation that were known to be untrue or made in reckless disregard of the truth would give rise to defamation," says LegalEagle.
Legal Eagle says that LeBron James tweet that said "What tears????? I didn't see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court," is an opinion and not a fact, so if Rittenhouse tries to sue James for defamation, he'll lose.
What about MSNBC's Tiffany Cross, who called Rittenhouse "a little murderous white supremacist," journalist John Heilemann, who described Rittenhouse as "arguably a domestic terrorist," or President Biden who tweeted "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," along with a video that showed Rittenhouse. Does Rittenhouse have a case in these instances? LegalEagle says "probably not." Calling someone a white supremacist is opinion Rhetorical hyperbole is protected.