- Conservative attorney John Pierce hasn’t been seen or heard from since August 23.
- Prosecutors wrote in a court filing that Pierce is reportedly ill with COVID-19 and on a ventilator.
- All 17 of his Capitol riot clients are “effectively without counsel,” prosecutors said.
John Pierce, a conservative attorney representing 17 Capitol riot defendants, hasn’t been seen or heard from since August 23, leaving all of his cases at a standstill amid rumors that he’s on life support.
“Sadly, Mr. Pierce is reportedly ill with COVID-19, on a ventilator, and unresponsive,” federal prosecutors wrote in court filings on Monday.
Prosecutors said Pierce’s absence meant that his cases were “effectively at a standstill,” and the 17 defendants “appear to be effectively without counsel.”
The prosecutors requested that each court handling Pierce’s clients “take any steps it believes necessary to ensure the defendant’s rights are adequately protected while Mr. Pierce remains hospitalized.”
The confusion first began August 24, when a colleague of Pierce’s, Ryan Marshall, began appearing on his behalf in court hearings.
Marshall first told the court that Pierce was absent “due to a conflict,” prosecutors said. But later that day, in a different hearing for a different accused Capitol rioter, Marshall told the court he had just learned Pierce had been in an accident and was en route to a hospital.
The following morning, Marshall told another judge Pierce was on a ventilator with COVID-19. Prosecutors complained in their Monday court filing that Marshall is a not a licensed attorney, and yet has been their “main or sole point of contact” for Pierce and his clients in recent days.
“The government does not believe it appropriate to continue to communicate with him in Mr. Pierce’s absence,” they wrote.
Insider has been unable to independently verify Pierce’s condition. Multiple phone numbers for Pierce’s law firm have been disconnected, and a colleague confirmed only that Pierce was hospitalized “due to symptoms that he believed might have been related to COVID-19.”
That colleague, Brody Womack, also told Insider that Pierce “appears to have been suffering from dehydration and exhaustion in relation to his tireless work on behalf of his clients, including the many defendants he represents in connection with the January 6, 2021 protest at the Capitol.”