An attorney known for his legal representation of controversial right-wing figures, including Kyle Rittenhouse and multiple Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, has mysteriously disappeared amid rumors he may be gravely ill with Covid-19, leaving 17 accused Jan. 6 rioters “effectively without legal counsel,” according to a Monday court filing.
Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips wrote in the document filed Monday morning that nearly 20 cases are at a standstill due to the disappearance of lawyer John Pierce.
According to the filing, an associate from Pierce’s law firm has been appearing in his place at court hearings and meetings with the government for “roughly the past week,” but “cannot ethically or legally represent Mr. Pierce’s client” as he is not a licensed attorney.
This associate, Ryan Marshall, told the court at a hearing on August 25 that he believed Pierce was hospitalized with Covid-19 “on a ventilator” and “unresponsive,” the filing says.
However, the U.S. attorney’s office said it has since received “conflicting information about Mr. Pierce’s health and whereabouts” from sources close to the lawyer.
The Attorney General’s Office said it has had “no contact” with Pierce “by phone, email or otherwise” since August 23 and noted that a Twitter account run by Pierce, which is usually very active, has not had a new post since August 20.
Pierce could not be reached by Forbes; the phone lines for his law firm, Pierce Bainbridge, appear to be disconnected.
“The United States thus finds itself in a position where this defendant and 16 other defendants charged in connection with the Capitol Riot appear to be effectively without counsel,” Phillips wrote in the court filing which was filed in the case of Casey Cusick, one of Pierce’s Jan. 6 clients.
Pierce posted disparaging comments about the Covid-19 vaccine on his Twitter account as recently as August 17, writing in a tweet: “The entire 82nd Airborne couldn’t make me get an experimental government vaccine stuck in my arm.” In a separate tweet on March 23, he wrote, “I personally think anyone who trusts the government to shoot some vague, unknown ‘vaccine’ in their arm for a virus with origin of a CCP biological weapons lab is taking a very big risk.” The vaccines have been proven safe and effective and, no, Covid-19 was not a bioweapon.
Before becoming “perhaps the most public legal face of the Jan. 6 defense,” as described by the Daily Beast, Pierce served as the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse, the now-18-year-old charged with killing two men and injuring a third during racial justice unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. He was ultimately fired as Rittenhouse’s lawyer after a financial dispute with the Rittenhouse family, who accused Pierce of trying to divert funds raised for the teenager’s legal defense to himself. He has also been fired by two alleged Capitol rioters, according to court documents.
“He Repped Kyle Rittenhouse, MAGA Monkey Owners… and Capitol Rioters” (The Daily Beast)