A high-profile lawyer representing scores of defendants within the US Capitol riot has been lacking from court docket for a few week — as a result of he’s apparently severely sick with COVID-19, in keeping with court docket paperwork filed Monday.
Federal prosecutors raised the alarm about lawyer John Pierce — who has a historical past of ripping coronavirus-vaccine mandates on Twitter — saying his absence from proceedings is successfully leaving his shoppers with out correct illustration.
“Sadly, Mr. Pierce is reportedly sick with COVID-19, on a ventilator, and unresponsive,” prosecutors wrote in a “Discover Relating to Protection Counsel John Pierce.”
For concerning the final week, Ryan Marshall, an affiliate from Pierce’s legislation agency, Pierce Bainbridge P.C., has been filling in at court docket hearings and conferences with the federal government, the court docket doc states.
However Marshall isn’t licensed to apply legislation, that means he “can not ethically or legally signify Mr. Pierce’s shoppers,” the prosecutors mentioned.
“The federal government is making the Court docket conscious of Mr. Pierce’s reported sickness in order that it may well take any steps it believes needed to make sure the defendant’s rights are adequately protected whereas Mr. Pierce stays hospitalized,” they wrote.
Prosecutors — who mentioned they haven’t heard from Pierce since Aug. 23 — additionally famous they’ve gotten conflicting details about why Pierce is MIA.
On Aug. 24, Marshall claimed Pierce was absent from court docket “on account of a battle” and some hours later advised prosecutors Pierce had “been in an accident and was on his option to the hospital,” in keeping with the submitting.
The affiliate lastly admitted in court docket the following day that Pierce “was hospitalized with COVID19, on a ventilator, and non-responsive.”
However Marshall, on Aug. 26, then claimed “that he had not had any direct contact with Mr. Pierce, however that one among Mr. Pierce’s mates had advised him that Mr. Pierce was sick with COVID-19 and one other had mentioned he was not,” the court docket doc reveals.
“Including to the confusion, Mr. Pierce, who typically posts a number of messages to Twitter each day, has not tweeted since August 20,” prosecutors wrote.
A quantity for Pierce’s legislation agency was additionally not in service Monday.
“Sadly, evidently Mr. Pierce could also be hospitalized and unable to speak, and it’s unclear when Mr. Pierce will get better,” the submitting mentioned.
Prosecutors went on to say that Pierce’s situation had left his 17 shoppers charged for his or her alleged roles within the Jan. 6 riot “successfully with out counsel,” bringing their instances to a “standstill.”
“Hopefully, Mr. Pierce will quickly regain his well being and be capable of proceed his illustration of the defendant,” they wrote.
“The federal government did, nonetheless, wish to make the Court docket conscious of Mr. Pierce’s reported sickness and its affect on the case in order that the Court docket can take any steps it believes needed to make sure that the defendant’s rights are adequately protected whereas Mr. Pierce stays hospitalized.”