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Capitol riot lawyer John Pierce goes lacking with Covid excuse and 17 pending circumstances, prosecutors say

Protection Lawyer John Pierce speaks throughout an extradition listening to for Kyle Rittenhouse in Lake County court docket Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, in Waukegan, Sick.

Nam Y. Huh | Pool | AP

Lawyer John Pierce — who’s representing 17 prison defendants in Capitol riot circumstances — has gone lacking from court docket appearances amid conflicting excuses that embrace a declare he’s hospitalized with Covid and is on a ventilator, a court docket submitting says.

Federal prosecutors warned a choose within the submitting that Pierce affiliate Ryan Marshall — who has been showing in Pierce’s absence over the previous week — “is just not a licensed legal professional.” Marshall additionally faces pending two separate felony prison circumstances in opposition to him personally in Pennsylvania, the prosecutors mentioned.

In consequence, “Mr. Marshall can’t ethically or legally symbolize Mr. Pierce’s shoppers,” prosecutors from the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the District of Columbia instructed the choose in Monday’s submitting, which was made within the case of riot defendant James Burton McGrew.

“The US thus finds itself able the place this defendant and 16 different defendants charged in reference to the Capitol Riot seem like successfully with out counsel,” prosecutors wrote Chief Choose Beryl Howell of Washington federal court docket.

All of Pierce’s riot defendants are being prosecuted in that court docket, as are tons of of others accused of invading the Capitol advanced on Jan. 6 after then-President Donald Trump urged supporters to battle in opposition to the affirmation of Joe Biden’s election as president by a joint session of Congress.

Pierce’s shoppers embrace members of the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers teams.

Monday’s submitting seems to provide the advantage of the doubt to an preliminary declare by Marshall that Pierce, who’s a Trump supporter himself, is, “Sadly … ailing with COVID-19, on a ventilator, and unresponsive.”

“Sadly, it appears that evidently Mr. Pierce could also be hospitalized and unable to speak, and it’s unclear when Mr. Pierce will get better,” prosecutors wrote.

“The federal government is making the Court docket conscious of Mr. Pierce’s reported sickness in order that it could take any steps it believes needed to make sure the defendant’s rights are adequately protected whereas Mr. Pierce stays hospitalized,” the submitting mentioned.

Prosecutors additionally point out different studies that contradict that declare and provides different explanations for the mysterious absence of Pierce, a reputation companion within the Los Angeles regulation agency Pierce Bainbridge.

“I’ve nothing to say,” Marshall instructed CNBC on Tuesday.

When CNBC referred to as the primary workplace telephone variety of Pierce’s agency on Tuesday, a recording mentioned, “The quantity you referred to as is just not in service.”

Pierce didn’t reply a telephone quantity given for him on the court docket’s docket. A message on that telephone quantity mentioned its voice mail had not been arrange. Pierce didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail question.

CNBC has left a message searching for remark along with his agency on its on-line contact kind.

Pierce beforehand represented Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old Illinois man charged with reckless murder and different expenses for fatally taking pictures two folks and wounding a 3rd in Kenosha, Wisconsin, final August throughout a civil disturbance sparked by the non-fatal police taking pictures of Black man named Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse fired Pierce in February.

An article in The New Yorker in June detailed the occasions main as much as Pierce’s termination, which included how the lawyer dealt with donations earmarked for Rittenhouse.

“Kyle was John’s ticket out of debt,” Rittenhouse’s mom, Wendy Rittenhouse, instructed The New Yorker.

Of their submitting Monday, federal prosecutors wrote that they’ve “had no contact with Mr. Pierce — by telephone, e-mail, or in any other case — since Monday, August 23, 2021,” when he appeared in D.C. court docket for a listening to within the case of Capitol riot defendant Jeremiah Caplinger.

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“Since that point, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace has heard conflicting details about Mr. Pierce’s well being and whereabouts,” the submitting.

On Aug. 24, Marshall appeared in court docket Pierce’s place for an additional riot defendant, “and represented to the court docket that Mr. Pierce’s absence was as a result of a battle,” the submitting mentioned.

“Just a few hours later, Mr. Marshall attended a reverse-proffer session with a unique defendant represented by Mr. Pierce, telling the Assistant U.S. Lawyer that he had simply gotten phrase that Mr. Pierce had been in an accident and was on his strategy to the hospital,” the submitting mentioned.

“Mr. Marshall then proceeded with the reverse-proffer session in Mr. Pierce’s absence.”

The subsequent morning, Marshall appeared in Pierce’s place for yet one more riot defendant, “and represented to the court docket that Mr. Pierce was hospitalized with COVID-19, on a ventilator, and non-responsive,” the submitting mentioned.

“After that info was reported publicly, a unique particular person reached out to an NPR correspondent and wrote that Mr. Pierce didn’t, in reality, have COVID, however as a substitute ‘was hospitalized on Monday as a result of signs that he believed may be associated to Covid-19’; ‘seems to have been affected by dehydration and exhaustion’; and ‘stays below the care of his docs,’ ” the submitting mentioned.

Final Thursday, throughout a listening to for an additional defendant, Marshall instructed a choose that he had not had direct contact with Pierce, “however that one in all Mr. Pierce’s buddies had instructed him that Mr. Pierce was sick with COVID-19 and one other had mentioned he was not,” prosecutors wrote.

The submitting famous that throughout the listening to, “Marshall requested, and was granted, a sealed bench convention at which to debate Mr. Pierce’s situation.”

Prosecutors famous that Pierce routinely posted “a number of messages to Twitter each day” however has not performed so since Aug. 20.

“And there are studies that “a number of telephone numbers for Pierce’s regulation agency, Pierce Bainbridge P.C., have been disconnected,” the submitting mentioned.

Prosecutors mentioned that Marshall appears to have taken actions for Capitol riot defendants “that he’s not permitted to do,” as he’s not being at the moment licensed to apply regulation, “and thus can’t seem on this Court docket, symbolize Mr. Pierce’s shoppers, or present them with authorized recommendation or providers.”

The submitting famous that Marshall is criminally charged in Pennsylvania state court docket with a number of counts of intercepting communications and illegal use of an audio gadget in court docket, and in one other case there the place he’s accused of a scheme to defraud the widow of a person whereas serving as a courthouse regulation clerk.

“From the federal government’s perspective, given Mr. Pierce’s reported sickness and the truth that Mr. Marshall is just not a licensed legal professional, this case is successfully at a standstill,” the submitting mentioned.

Prosecutors wrote that whereas ‘”Marshall has been the federal government’s essential or sole level of contact for lots of the defendants represented by Mr. Pierce, the federal government doesn’t imagine it acceptable to proceed to speak with him in Mr. Pierce’s absence, throughout which he would essentially be performing with out supervision by a licensed legal professional.”

Correction: An earlier model gave the improper final identify for Choose Beryl Howell.


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