Jan. 6 lawyer who missed hearings says he’s out of hospital

AP Political

FILE – In this Oct. 30, 2020, file photo defense attorney John Pierce, speaks during an extradition hearing in Lake County court in Waukegan, Ill. Pierce, prominent conservative attorney representing more than a dozen defendants charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol is seriously ill and hasn’t been able to appear in court. Officials said Thursday, Sept. 2, that’s throwing the cases into disarray, and that he sent an associate, who is not a licensed lawyer, to appear before judges in his absence. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, Pool, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent conservative defense attorney whose disappearance from court stalled a slew of U.S. Capitol riot cases said Wednesday that he has been released from the hospital and is preparing to get back to work.

Prosecutors had expressed concerns last weekafter John Pierce, who is representing more than a dozen people charged in the Jan. 6 riot, didn’t appear in court for several days. An associate — who is not licensed to practice law — was appearing before judges in Pierce’s absence.

Pierce said in a legal filing Wednesday that he spent 12 days in the hospital before being released Sunday. Pierce, who did not elaborate on why he was hospitalized, said he expects to be “fully operational next week.”

“I was not ‘missing’ or anything of the sort,” Pierce wrote.

Prosecutors had raised alarm that Pierce’s cases had come to a “standstill,” and told judges they were worried Pierce’s disappearance and his associate’s actions on the lawyer’s behalf cause problems in his cases. The associate, Ryan Marshall, is not a licensed attorney and faces felony criminal charges, including fraud, in Pennsylvania state court.

Pierce defended his associate Wednesday, writing in the court filing, “As I learn for the first time about the confusion and intense media coverage that accompanied my hospitalization, Ryan clearly did an incredible job under immensely difficult circumstances with the limited information he had at the time.”

Pierce has been hired by several high-profile Jan. 6 defendants, including members of the Proud Boys extremist group. More than 600 people have been charged in the riot that disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

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