Several rioters on the Capitol are now without a lawyer because their lawyer seems to have disappeared.
The New York Times reports that attorney John Pierce missed a hearing last Tuesday, where he was scheduled to defend one of the January 6 suspects. According to an associate who took his place, Mr. Pierce had a “conflict” and was unable to make it to the hearing.
Mr. Pierce’s missed hearing did not cause immediate concern. But he reportedly continued to miss hearings, and other deputy lawyers began to offer varying – and sometimes contradictory – explanations of his whereabouts.
A colleague told a judge on Wednesday Mr Pierce fell ill with Covid-19 and was put on a ventilator at an area hospital. However, that same colleague told a prosecutor in another case that Mr. Pierce had been in a car accident.
Later that night, another associate of Mr. Pierce told a reporter that the lawyer was in the hospital, but was being treated for “dehydration and exhaustion”.
On Monday, the federal government decided to notify the defendants in 17 cases of the Capitol riots of the disappearance of their lawyer.
Without Mr Pierce, his attorney’s cases cannot move forward and at some point he will need to be replaced to ensure that suspects of the Capitol riots are represented in court.
The lawyer – a known supporter of Donald Trump who has previously claimed he will subpoena House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – has taken on far-right gang members Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as clients. Mr Pierce is said to have ultimately clashed with federal prosecutors in hopes of tying the conspiracy charges to the gangs.
“I’m like Gerard Butler in 300Mr. Pierce said before disappearing, comparing himself to Leonidas, the legendary king of Sparta. “I am in the hot gates of Thermopylae, holding the pass against the Persian army of a million men. “
Now federal prosecutors are dealing with his replacement, a partner named Ryan Joseph Marshall, who is reportedly not a licensed lawyer.
Prosecutors aren’t sure when Mr. Marshall might get his license, as he’s indicted in his own criminal cases – which charge him with bribery, theft and fraud – in Pennsylvania.
In the meantime, all prosecutors can do is wait and see if Mr. Pierce resurfaces.
“Unfortunately, it appears Mr. Pierce is hospitalized and unable to communicate,” prosecutors wrote on Monday, “and it is not known when Mr. Pierce will recover”.
The Independent Gt