'Students for Trump' founder attacks political rivals over DUIs despite getting his own DWI: report
Ryan Fournier, the 27-year-old co-founder of Students for Trump, hasn’t been shy about attacking political opponents — some of them Democrats, some of them fellow Republicans he considers insufficiently MAGA — over drunken driving. The opponents weren’t necessarily facing DUI charges themselves; one of them was Republican congressional candidate and defense lawyer Kevin Hayslett, who Fournier attacked for representing people charged with DUI. But DUI has been a frequent line of attack for Fournier — despite the fact that Fournier, according to the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, has faced DWI charges himself.
When Fournier attacked Hayslett in a June 10 post on Twitter, he wrote, “DUI defender @KevinHayslettFL's clients give him a 5-star rating. Many victims are no longer with us to give their ratings.” And on June 21, Fournier tweeted, “DUI defender @KevinHayslettFL: 70% of his time spent as a lawyer was defending those caught driving drunk or high. Is this someone we want in Congress?”
But Sollenberger, in an article published by the Beast on October 26, reports, “That didn’t stop Fournier from turning to a DUI lawyer four months later, when he was arraigned on an array of charges — including driving while impaired, to which he pleaded guilty. Last week, Fournier, 27, appeared in a Guilford County, North Carolina courtroom in connection to a slate of serious traffic offenses, including driving while impaired, aggressive driving, driving to endanger, and fleeing/eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, court records show.”
Those charges, according to Sollenberger, “came from a February 2021 traffic stop and arrest where Fournier — who had been charged with a DWI in the same county four months prior — was booked after driving 101 miles an hour in a 45 MPH zone, according to county records obtained by The Daily Beast.”
Sollenberger adds that Fournier’s attorney Chad Garrett “got most of the charges dismissed.” The reporter stresses that although Fournier attacked Hayslett for defending people accused of DUI, he didn’t hesitate to hire a “top area DUI defense attorney” when he needed one.
Fournier, according to Sollenberger, “walked away with a total 48 hours of community service along with a year of unsupervised probation, a $100 fine, and another $593 in additional costs — all for the DWI, per court documents.”
“Fournier, a self-styled MAGA influencer whose Twitter account lays claim to 950,000 followers, helped jump-start the pro-Trump youth movement,” Sollenberger observes. “After launching Students for Trump, he co-founded Turning Point Action, the political arm of the Turning Point USA organization headed up by conservative media personality Charlie Kirk. Turning Point Action was one of the groups that booked buses and lodging for the January 6 riot.”
Sollenberger adds, “But a TPUSA official told The Daily Beast that Fournier’s involvement with the organization had dropped off dramatically, pegging the slide to the weeks before the 2020 election — around the time of his first DWI charge, October 3, 2020…. This year, Fournier has used DUIs four times as a tool to attack political opponents on Twitter.”
Another person Fournier attacked on Twitter was Paul Pelosi, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Paul Pelosi pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in August.
Fournier isn’t the only past or present member of Students For Trump who has had legal problems. In May 2021, John Lambert — who co-founded Students For Trump with Fournier in 2016 — was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.
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