Colleague denies anti-vaxx Capitol riot lawyer has COVID -- says he's just 'suffering from dehydration and exhaustion'

A representative for John Pierce, the anti-vaxx attorney representing dozens of Capitol rioters, including several members of the Proud Boys, is denying reports that he has COVID-19.

On Wednesday, multiple outlets including Raw Story reported that Pierce — who previously represented Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooting suspect Kyle Rittenthouse — was hospitalized and on a ventilator with COVID-19. The reports were based on statements made in federal court during a hearing for one of Pierce's Jan. 6 clients after the attorney failed to show up for a hearing.

However, early Thursday, NPR investigative correspondent Tom Dreisbach shared a statement he obtained from one of Pierce's colleagues at the National Constitutional Law Union (NCLU), which he launched as a right-wing rival to the ACLU.

"Thank you for your inquiry," wrote Pierce's colleague, Brody Womack. "John Pierce is a dear friend. John was hospitalized Monday due to symptoms he believed might be related to Covid-19. John 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. John, a former Army tank platoon leader, is a natural-born fighter – both in an out of the courtroom. While John remains under the care of his doctors, we expect him to make a full recovery. John and his family thank everyone for their concern."

New York Times reporter Alan Feuer noted that Pierce was again absent from a hearing for one of his Jan. 6 clients on Thursday morning.