Breitbart News notes that newly-acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse could sue White House press secretary Jen Psaki for defamation following her claim Tuesday afternoon that he was linked to the right-wing Proud Boys group and her implication that he was a violent “white supremacist.”
Psaki dodged a question about whether President Biden would apologize for his declaration in 2020 that Rittenhouse was a “white supremacist” despite the lack of evidence. She referred to Rittenhouse as a “vigilante” instead of correcting Biden’s slander. She also claimed Rittenhouse had “posed for photos” with the Proud Boys, whom the left falsely labels a white supremacist group. The judge in Rittenhouse’s trial agreed with the defense that “There’s still no suggestion in the evidence … that this was anything other than a happenstance occurrence.”
Unlike the president, Psaki does not enjoy immunity from civil torts while Biden is in office. Rittenhouse is a public figure, and would have to show that she acted with “actual malice,” which is defined as “reckless disregard for the truth.” That, in turn, usually requires plaintiffs to show that a defendant knew something was untrue, or could have known, but said it anyway.
Given the outcome of the trial, the zero evidence tying Rittenhouse to white supremacist groups, and the judge’s rejection of a connection with the “Proud Boys,” Psaki could be said to have acted with “actual malice.” This would add her to the growing list of media and political figures who are now vulnerable to defamation suits by Rittenhouse.