RACINE -- Attorney Mark Richards led the victory for Kyle Rittenhouse's defense when a jury found the teenager not guilty on all five counts connected to three shootings last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during violent protests.
Here's more on Richards, including what he had to say after Rittenhouse was acquitted in one of the most high-profile criminal cases in Wisconsin history.
Who is Mark Richards?
Richards has more than 30 years experience doing criminal defense law in Wisconsin. He earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin.
What did Richards say after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted?
After the acquittal, Richards spoke to the media without Rittenhouse, who he said was on his way home to "get on with his life."
"We're happy that the jury took the time, put in an incredible amount of effort," Richards said. "There were times we doubted the case, there were times we were confident.
"To say that we were relieved would be a gross mis-understatement."
What did he think of the jury deliberations going into a fourth day?
He said it made him feel "doubt."
"I never predict how long a jury is going to be out," Richards said.
He said the nearly 26-hour jury deliberation was "the longest jury deliberation I've ever been a part of. It was torture."
When did Richards begin representing Rittenhouse?
Conservative Atlanta defamation lawyer Lin Wood and conservative attorney John Pierce came on board first and helped raise the $2 million bond for Rittenhouse. But in mid-September 2020, Richards was hired since those two attorneys didn't practice in Wisconsin.
Other Wisconsin lawyers were initially hired but quit over Wood's role in the case.
Wood and Pierce were later dismissed by Rittenhouse.
Richards said their departures were the most important development in the case.
Unlike Lin Wood and John Pierce, Richards said he wasn't representing a cause but a client
After the verdict, Richards wouldn't say the names of Wood and Pierce, who hired him.
"They wanted to use Kyle for a cause and something that I think was inappropriate," Richards said. "I don't represent causes. I represent clients. The only thing that ended up mattering to me was whether he was found not guilty or not."
Richards said it was easy call to put Rittenhouse on the stand
Richards said it was an easy decision.
"Had to put him on," Richards said. "It wasn't a close all."
But Richards admitted "at certain points we wondered whether we would put him on."
So what changed?
Richards said the defense team did a mock jury, one with Rittenhouse testifying and one without.
"It was substantially better when he testified," Richards said. "That sealed it. In Wisconsin, if you don't put a client on the stand, you're going to lose. Period."
Richards recalls first interaction with Rittenhouse
Richards said Friday he remembered telling Rittenhouse when he was in custody that "if he was looking for somebody to go off on a crusade I wasn't his lawyer."
Richards sought two mistrials
During the trial, Richards and his team sought two mistrials for actions the prosecution took, one of which centered on the prosecution's cross-examination of Rittenhouse.
Judge Bruce Schroeder never ruled on the mistrials before the jury reached its verdict.
Besides Richards who else was central in the defense?
Corey Chirafisi of Madison acted as Richards' co-counsel.
Has Richards done other work?
Yes. Early in his career, he worked for two years as an assistant prosecutor in Racine and Kenosha.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Kyle Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards reacts to acquittal verdict