GoFundMe explains why it removed fundraisers before Kyle Rittenhouse trial

National

TAMPA (WFLA) – In the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse being fully acquitted of all charges Friday after pleading self-defense in a deadly shooting in Wisconsin in 2020, GoFundMe explained why it removed online fundraisers for the teen’s legal fees last year.

“GoFundMe’s Terms of Service prohibit raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime,” the company said in a statement posted to Medium.

According to the statement, GoFundMe removed fundraisers that were started last year once charges for a violent crime were brought against Rittenhouse. GoFundMe said it was part of its “regular monitoring efforts” and that hundreds of other fundraisers unrelated to Rittenhouse were removed between August and December of 2020.

In cases like Rittenhouse, where someone is acquitted, GoFundMe said “a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy.”

“A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser,” the statement said.

Since Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges against him on Friday, GoFundMe will allow any future fundraisers started to raise money for his legal fees.

“We are monitoring our site for related fundraisers to try to verify, as we do for all events that have widespread attention, that the funds are going to the intended recipient and that the fundraiser is within our Terms of Service,” GoFundMe said.

Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of all charges against him, which included homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering for killing two men and wounding a third during protests over the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha. He could have been sentenced to life in prison if found guilty on the most serious charge of first-degree intentional homicide.

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