The go-to lawyer for right-wing figures, including several accused January 6 rioters, hasn’t been seen in court in days. The New York Times reported that John Pierce, who is representing 17 defendants in the Capitol-riot investigation, has missed several hearings for these cases and the explanations for his absence keep changing.
Pierce’s clients include members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, extremist groups that played a significant role in the Capitol riot. Previously, he represented Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year during a protest against police brutality. Pierce’s law firm has previously represented Rudy Giuliani, Tulsi Gabbard, and Carter Page.
Last Tuesday, Pierce reportedly missed a hearing for one of the January 6 defendants due to a “conflict.” But the different reasons for his nonappearance have begun to multiply and vary, as the Times laid out:
On Wednesday, his associate told a judge in one case that Mr. Pierce had gotten Covid-19 and was in the hospital on a ventilator– but only after telling a prosecutor in another case that Mr. Pierce had been in a car accident. That same evening, a different associate told a reporter that Mr. Pierce had in fact been hospitalized, but was getting care for “dehydration and exhaustion.”
The U.S. Attorney office in D.C. contacted the judges in Pierce’s cases Monday regarding his unknown whereabouts. According to CNN, his in-court duties were being covered by Ryan Marshall, an associate from Pierce’s L.A.-based firm, Pierce Bainbridge. Prosecutors opposed this switcheroo, claiming Marshall is not a licensed attorney.