But Rittenhouse certainly isn’t the first controversial acquittal in recent years — here are some others with updates on where they are now.
1. George Zimmerman
The shooter of Trayvon Martin fought murder charges by using Florida’s “stand your ground law,” and Martin was a threat to him, despite the fact that he was unarmed. Zimmerman was found not guilty, but his life since then has been one disaster after another.
In 2019 he filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Martin’s family, whom he blames for purportedly sullying his reputation.
“If I have to live my life and if I have to go about my business as a normal person, then I would do that. However, I’m not afforded that luxury anymore. You guys. The media. The masses. The Fulton-Martin family. They took that from me,” he said.
He then sued Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for what he said was defamation. According to his argument, “the name George Zimmerman is 100 percent synonymous with the incident that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin.” He asked for $265 million in damages.
He’s tried to raise money by selling the gun that killed Martin for $138,900, which led to wide condemnation even among some conservatives who were sympathetic to his case.
Added to all this, his girlfriend brought a domestic violence accusation against him, he was involved in a public altercation with a motorist, and he has continued tweeting photos of Martin’s dead body.
He now is an ardent opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement.
2. Brock Turner
Stanford University student Brock Turner made news after he raped an unconscious woman who had passed out outside of a fraternity.
Despite being convicted on three felony sexual assault charges, Turner was given a jail sentence of just six months and was told he must register as a sex offender.
The Daily Mail, revealed that as of 2021, Turner was working for a cooling technology company earning about $12 an hour. He still lives with his parents.
3. Ethan Couch
Ethan Couch was driving under the influence when he plowed his SUV into a crowd of people, killing four.
According to a psychologist who testified at his trial, Couch was the victim of a disease he called “affluenza.” Because his parents enforced the power of wealth and privilege, Couch never understood accountability.
Couch was sentenced to a rehabilitation facility at his parents’ expense, which cost around $1,170 per month. The judge in the case said that there was a concern if Couch was put in the Texas juvenile justice system he “might not get the kind of intensive therapy in a state-run program that he could receive at the California facility suggested by his attorneys.”
Couch was given 10 years of probation and less than two years in prison for killing four people, even though it was his third alcohol-related offense.
“I do believe Ethan Couch is not the same person he was when he came to jail. This time he’s spent, it’s a rude awakening for anyone,” said Sheriff Dee Anderson.
But by 2020 he tested positive for drugs while on probation, but it was found to be a false-positive. He’ll be released from probation in 2024. He can wander freely with an ankle monitor as long as he is home by 9 p.m. each evening.
Those in the car weren’t wearing seatbelts and two of the nine injured involved in the crash were in Couch’s car. Couch’s friend, 15-year-old Sergio Molina, was paralyzed from the neck down. He can only communicate by blinking.
His family couldn’t afford the hospital costs and begged the Couch family for help. The pleas were ignored.
So, Molina’s family sued the Couch family, resulting in a $2 million judgment. Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter after Couch hit them, got a $1 million settlement from the Couch family.
In a documentary about him and the trial, Couch said that it was pointless to apologize because people still wanted to kill him. But after being visited in prison by a victim’s friend, Couch ultimately apologized.
4. The McCloskeys
Mark and Patricia McCloskey were arrested after pointing guns at protesters walking by their home. They weren’t the target of any protests, as they simply lived down the street from the mayor’s house where the protesters were marching. Still, the McCloskey’s raced out of their mansion to wave their guns.
Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and Patricia pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment. Both were forced to surrender their guns.
They paid less than $3,000 in fines and were ultimately pardoned by the Republican Missouri governor and were able to buy more guns.
Mark McCluskey is now running for the U.S. Senate.
5. Trump’s cabinet secretaries
Former President Donald Trump’s cabinet was marred by scandal and corruption, particularly when it came to secretaries spending the taxpayers’ money. By the end of Trump’s first year, his cabinet secretaries racked up $2 million in wasteful or legally questionable expenses.
Secretary Tom Price was among the first, as he spent more than $1 million on military flights and private planes and he subsequently resigned as the shortest-serving HHS secretary in history.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was the next to be caught up in a scandal. He too used chartered flights to fly back and forth between Washington, D.C. and his home state of Oklahoma, where he was thought to be using the appointment to run for higher office.
He was ultimately forced to resign in disgrace after he was found to have purchased a “privacy booth” in his office, tactical pants for his own protection, and awarding a hefty $120,000 no-bid contract to a GOP opposition research firm in an effort to help spin the EPA’s press coverage.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was next to spend an excessive amount on travel on government helicopters ($14,000) and private planes. One flight from Las Vegas to his Montana home cost taxpayers $12,375. The inspector general determined that because Zinke never documented his travel, investigators couldn’t find whether he’d violated the government rules.
In the first year alone, Secretary Steve Mnuchin spent more than $800,000 on military flights. An investigation revealed that had he flown coach it would have cost taxpayers $780,000 less. He also requested a military plane to use for his honeymoon to Europe, but he canceled the request once his financials became public.
Mike Pompeo was found to have violated several laws and rules, according to an inspector general report. Gifts to the State Department are still missing.
While many of them resigned in disgrace, some of them are still trying to take the next steps in their political careers. Pompeo may run for president, Mnuchin opened a massive hedge fund, Zinke is running for Congress and others likely wish they could follow suit. It’s unclear if they’ll ever be held accountable for the corruption in their departments.
6. Trump’s pals
Roger Stone, Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort were all able to score pardons by the former president. Bannon was facing criminal charges alleging fraud over his “We Build The Wall” campaign. Roger Stone was found guilty on seven counts, including lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. The day before he was headed to jail, Trump pardoned him.
Paul Manafort spent some time in jail after being convicted of his crimes. But his four-year sentence was cut short when he was allowed out due to COVID-19 spreading through prisons. Trump ultimately pardoned him during the final month of the Trump administration.
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