In Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer introduces his Hammer drones at the Stark Expo, and then introduces Colonel James Rhodes as the man controlling them via the War Machine suit. When Iron Man shows up, the villain (and previous attacker)

Ivan Vanko, assumes remote control of the drones AND Rhodey's suit, attacking Iron Man and the crowd in general before destroying the expo.

From the perspective of the crowd and media, it appears that Rhodes is the one attacking, and presumably controlling the drones as well. When the real villain appears, there is no one around except for Iron Man & Rhodey, and the explosive finale would leave little evidence of the villain's true identity or appearance.

Did Rhodey get in trouble for this, or at least have to appear at a military tribunal, to explain himself? If not, how would either of them explain the villain, whom was believed to be dead?

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    Why would he? Not only is the villian's dead corpse available for evidence of his not-death, his involvement with Hammer's project was under orders from the military. Everything gets to be blamed on Hammer and Vanko, because it is their fault and everything is open now. – DariM Oct 27 '17 at 4:18
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    Its also worth noting that a SHIELD agent was present for part of the event and was aware that Rhodey's suit was hacked since she had to put him back in control of the suit. – user61524 Oct 27 '17 at 6:07
  • @user61524 - I think that's probably the best answer. If you add that as an actual answer, I'll accept it. – Omegacron Oct 27 '17 at 16:14

I don't think that Rhodey got into trouble because a SHIELD Agent (Romanoff) was present for the event and could vouch that his suit had been hacked since she had to hack in as well to put him back in control of it.

As DariM said, Vanko's corpse was available for evidence afterwards to prove that his previous death had been fabricated. We see in the short released with IM3 that Hammer went to prison after the events, and I'm sure Hammer tried to put as much of the blame on Vanko as possible after his arrest.

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