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Kyle Rittenhouse did not sue LeBron James for defamation

December 2, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Federal magistrate approved Kyle Rittenhouse’s $110 Million defamation suit against LeBron James.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. No such ruling was made. Rittenhouse has not filed a defamation suit against the Los Angeles Lakers star or anyone else, his spokesperson told The Associated Press.

THE FACTS: After 18-year-old Rittenhouse was acquitted of homicide charges in connection with the shooting of three people at a protest in Wisconsin, posts emerged on social media suggesting that he had filed defamation suits against some high-profile celebrities, including James.

One claim, which was posted on Facebook on Tuesday night, states: “Hahahahaha! This is going to get good! ‘Federal Magistrate Approves Kyle Rittenhouse’s $110 Million Defamation Suit Against LeBron James.’”

The post has been shared nearly 2,000 times and has garnered over 70,000 views. The claim also circulated on Twitter.

However, the claim is “absolutely not true,” according to David Hancock, a spokesperson for Rittenhouse and his family.

“No legal actions have been taken against any organization or person in particular,” Hancock told the AP.

He added that Rittenhouse and his legal team are not currently discussing any plans to file any defamation lawsuits.

The claim that Rittenhouse is suing James appears to have originated on Potatriots Unite, a satire website that states on its about page, “Everything on this website is fiction.” It is a subsidiary of America’s Last Line of Defense, a network of websites that publish satirical content that is often interpreted as real.

Similar claims saying Rittenhouse had filed defamation suits have circulated on social media in recent days. On Sunday, the AP reported on false claims saying he had filed lawsuits against CNN, along with Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, both hosts of “The View.”

Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and injured another during protests that followed the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse, who faced charges, including first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree homicide, argued he acted in self-defense. A jury acquitted him on all charges on Nov. 19.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.