Trials & Litigation

John Pierce, lawyer for Jan. 6 Capitol riot defendants, is planning his return

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AP Photo John Pierce

Defense attorney John Pierce speaks during an extradition hearing for Kyle Rittenhouse in Lake County court Oct. 30. He no longer represents Rittenhouse. Photo by Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press.

After being described as missing in action by federal prosecutors, John Pierce, who represents many Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots defendants, told the court in Wednesday filings that he expects to be “fully operational” sometime next week.

In Aug. 30 pleadings, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia claimed Pierce had made no contact with federal prosecutors in a week, and his clients were effectively without counsel.

“I am pleased to report that on Sunday, September 5, 2021, I was released from an LA-area hospital following a 12-day stay. I was not ‘missing,’ or anything of the sort,” Pierce wrote in filings dated Sept. 8.

The government also alleged that Ryan Marshall, who works for Pierce and was making court appearances on his behalf, is not licensed to practice law and faces felony charges in Pennsylvania.

Additionally, the government claims Marshall told various, conflicting, stories about why Pierce was not in court. Those stories included Pierce being hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus, having a car accident and suffering from exhaustion.

“The morning I went into the hospital was extremely chaotic,” wrote Pierce, whose filing did not disclose a specific ailment. According to him, Marshall’s bar admission is pending and the judges he has cases in front of were aware of that “to the best of my knowledge.”

Federal prosecutors “were apprised” of Marshall’s admission status, according to Pierce’s filing.

“I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the court, my clients and counsel for their patience during this time. I also am deeply grateful for the amazing care I received from the doctors, nurses and staff who cared for me,” Pierce wrote.

As of last week he represented 17 defendants in the Capitol riots cases, which was more than any other lawyer, the New York Times reported. By Sept. 8 the federal public defender’s office filed a notice of appearance for at least one defendant represented by Pierce, and a handful of others had magistrate hearings scheduled regarding their legal representation, according to PACER court records.

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