17 Capitol riot cases at standstill after attorney contracts COVID

Attorney John Pierce reportedly on ventilator

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump confront U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Capitol in Washington. The House panel investigation of the riot at the U.S. Capitol issued sweeping document requests on Friday, Aug. 27, to social media companies, expanding the committees investigation as it seeks to examine the events leading to Januarys insurrection. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump confront U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Capitol in Washington. The House panel investigation of the riot at the U.S. Capitol issued sweeping document requests on Friday, Aug. 27, to social media companies, expanding the committees investigation as it seeks to examine the events leading to Januarys insurrection. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON, DC – Court cases for seventeen suspects arrested for the January riot at the U.S. Capitol are on hold after their defense attorney contracted COVID-19 and is reportedly on a ventilator.

According to documents filed in federal court on Monday, prosecutors claimed attorney John Pierce “is reportedly ill with COVID-19, on a ventilator, and unresponsive.”

Pierce is representing six men from Central Florida who were arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 event, Kenneth Harrelson, Kevin Tuck, Nathaniel Tuck, David Lesperance, Casey Cusick and James Cusick, Jr.

According to the filing, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to intervene in the matter.

“For roughly the past week, Ryan Marshall – an associate from Mr. Pierce’s law firm, who is not a licensed attorney, has been appearing in Mr. Pierce’s place at court hearings and meetings with the government. 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 the steps it believes necessary to ensure the defendants’ rights are adequately protected while Mr. Pierce remains hospitalized.”

Prosecutors also claim several phone numbers for Pierce’s law firm have been disconnected.


About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.