The high-profile lawyer for Sandy Hook conspiracist Alex Jones wants to expand his roster of Jan. 6 defendants to include one more Donald Trump supporter who has been convicted of seditious conspiracy.
Attorney Norm Pattis filed a motion on Monday to take over representation of Zachary Rehl, a member of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group who was convicted in May of seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Rehl was convicted alongside co-defendant and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and other members of the group, all of whom are now facing decades behind bars.
“The undersigned gives notice of his appearance on behalf of the Defendant, Zachary Rehl,” Pattis’ brief motion says. “Mr. Rehl’s trial attorney, Ms. Carmen Hernandez, filed to withdraw as counsel and extend time for Post-Verdict motions, on 06/04/2023.” A sentencing date for Rehl has not yet been scheduled.
“Undersigned counsel, appointed under the Criminal Justice Act, moves to withdraw as counsel for Zachary Rehl for the reason that retained counsel will be entering his appearance on Mr. Rehl’s behalf,” Hernandez’s motion said, referring to Pattis without mentioning him by name.
As her motion notes, Hernandez was essentially serving as Rehl’s public defender, pursuant to the federal law that assigns private attorneys to represent defendants who cannot afford to pay for one.
Pattis already represents Rehl’s co-defendant Joseph R. Biggs in the case. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, the Trump appointee who oversaw the monthslong trial, gave federal prosecutors until Tuesday to address any “potential conflict-of-interest issues involving Mr. Pattis’s simultaneous representation of two codefendants in this matter for posttrial motions and sentencing,” according to the federal case docket.
Pattis, who is based in Connecticut, is already keeping busy with appellate filings in the defamation case against Jones, who repeatedly told his millions of followers that the slaughter of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 was a “hoax.” A Connecticut judge found in a sweeping November 2021 default ruling that Jones had defamed his targets with such claims, and a jury found that the disgraced host must pay nearly $1 billion to families of the victims and a former FBI agent who he had targeted with his remarks.
A Texas jury has also ordered Jones to pay millions in punitive damages for repeating his defamatory conspiracy theories about the massacre.
Pattis declined to comment for this story. Hernandez did not immediately reply to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
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