(RoyalPatriot.com )- Many of the defendants in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building are “effectively without counsel” currently.
That message was sent from the Department of Justice to various judges on Monday. One of the main reasons for this is John Pierce, a high-profile lawyer, is suffering from COVID-19 right now.
One of his associates has been tapped to step in. But that person, Ryan Marshall, isn’t a licensed attorney and is facing two felony charges of his own.
Jordan Fischer, who is an investigative reporter for WUSA9, reported on Monday:
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) says in a new filing it appears (John Pierce’s) 17 #CapitolRiot defendants are ‘effectively without counsel,’ and notes Ryan Marshall, who has been appearing in Pierce’s place, is not a licensed attorney.”
The media outlet has also reported that Pierce has “missed multiple court hearings” and has been “out of contact” with his clients since August 23.
Last week, Marshall told a judge he thought Pierce was “ill with COVID-19, on a ventilator and unresponsive.” That’s according to a filing the DOJ made.
Some associates of Pierce, though, told NPR that’s not true. Instead, they say Marshall is “suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.”
As Fischer tweeted recently:
“The DOJ seems to be just as confused as the rest of us about whether John Pierce is actually in the hospital with COVID-19. Marshall said in court Pierce was on a ventilator, but another colleague later told NPR he was not. #CapitolRiot”
As the DOJ filing explained:
“Because Mr. Pierce is unavailable and Mr. Marshall cannot ethically or legally represent Mr. Pierce’s clients, the government is making the Court aware of Mr. Pierce’s reported illness so that it can take any steps it believes necessary to ensure the defendant’s rights are adequately protected while Mr. Pierce remains hospitalized.”
In addition, the DOJ wrote that Marshall isn’t a licensed attorney and is “facing felony charges in two separate cases in Pennsylvania, including one case involving his alleged participation in a conspiracy to commit fraud while clerking for a judge on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.
“It was not clear whether Pierce had a succession plan — which would include case information and instructions for another attorney or attorneys to take over for his clients — and no one other than Marshall has appeared on his behalf in the past week.”
Pierce gained notoriety after taking on the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who was charged with shooting three people during an anti-police protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Two of those people died.
Rittenhouse, who was 18 years old at the time, was charged with two felony counts of homicide and one count of felony attempted homicide. He is no longer a current client of Pierce’s, though.
Pierce is also officially listed as the counsel for other defendants including William Pepe, a member of the Proud Boys, and Kenneth Harrelson, a member of the Oath Keepers.