The disbarred attorney for a defendant in the high-profile case against alleged members of a militia group accused of conspiring to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 says that he hasn’t been able to find a replacement—at least not one his client can afford.
Jonathon Moseley—the firebrand conservative lawyer who recently made news when he incorporated “fringe” theories into his legal arguments—told U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday that he still has not been able to find a lawyer to take over representation of his client Kelly Meggs.
It’s substantially the same story he told Mehta one week ago, when he said that even lawyers who Moseley thought would want to take the case don’t appear to be showing interest.
Moseley lost his license to practice law in Virginia on April 5, and although he appears to have taken some legal action on behalf of his client since then, Mehta has kept his role limited to that of “caretaker counsel” until a replacement lawyer is found.
“We have made efforts, and we do have a couple interested promising attorneys, but they want a lot of money,” Moseley said at Friday’s status conference. “I’ve tried all my contacts, and the lawyer I had high hopes for seems to have disappeared on us.”
Moseley said his office has been trying to gauge interest from “conservative lawyers.” He told Mehta that his office had spoken with an attorney who “dealt with the Kyle Rittenhouse case,” but that lawyer wanted $500,000 to start working on the case.
Another lawyer was reportedly “worried about his schedule but is otherwise very interested.”
It’s not clear which of Rittenhouse’s attorneys Moseley meant. At least three lawyers represented Rittenhouse, who shot three men during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer.
Two of the men Rittenhouse shot died; one was shot in the arm and survived. Rittenhouse made a self-defense case and was acquitted of all charges at trial.
Conservative lawyers John Pierce and L. Lin Wood both represented Rittenhouse for a time, but were fired after Rittenhouse’s family came to believe that the attorneys were using Kyle for publicity and financial gain. Rittenhouse has also said that he fired Wood—one of lawyers associated with the pro-Trump, so-called “Kraken” legal team seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election—because of Wood’s support for QAnon and election-related conspiracy theories.
Wisconsin criminal defense attorney Mark Richards was the lead lawyer who represented Rittenhouse at trial and secured the acquittal.
“Definitely not me,” Wood told Law&Crime when asked over email if he was the attorney who requested the $500,000.
Neither Moseley nor Richards immediately responded to Law&Crime’s request for comment or clarification. Pierce, who has represented other Jan. 6 defendants, declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Meggs himself appeared to have made more progress than Moseley in securing counsel.
“I’m finally in discussion with two attorneys now,” Meggs told Mehta. “We’re relatively close to putting something together. I think I’ll be okay here in the next week.”
Mehta seemed pleased to hear the news, and said that he had contacted the Federal Public Defender’s office about other possible representation options.
“The bottom line is we have a couple different tracks, [and] it sounds like Mr. Megg’s track may be the most promising,” Mehta said.
Meggs added that while it wasn’t “100% right now,” it seemed likely that an attorney would be entering an appearance on his behalf in the coming week.
Mehta said he expects an update at a status conference in the case set for next week.
Meggs is a member of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Prosecutors say that Meggs, along with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and others, conspired to keep Donald Trump in the White House by force after his loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
[Images via FBI court filing, YouTube screengrab.]
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