Originally Posted September 18, 2023
by Robert Baty
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As previously scheduled, a hearing was held in the case of The Montana 4 on September 18, 2023, via Zoom, in order to consider the status of case in light of John M. Pierce’s withdrawal (granted) as counsel.
I was able to tune in a few minutes after it started.
They mentioned John M. Pierce’s withdrawal as counsel and the numerous reasons he stated for doing so, in a “sealed” motion to withdrawal. The judge indicated that it may not be wise to discuss the details since the motion was sealed and, for whatever reasons, it appears appropriate that he be released as counsel because he and The Montana 4 did not appear to be a good match. Jesse appeared to want to fuss about the reasons Pierce gave, and I think he specifically mentioned a complaint that Jesse would not answer emails. Since it was clear it wouldn’t change anything, that discussion was cut short and things moved on.
I wonder if Jesse was refusing to respond to Pierce via email is reflective of The Montana 4 paranoia, thinking any such correspondence might eventually be made public.
Ultimately, all previously scheduled proceedings were vacated (pre-trial hearing and trial) and a new status hearing will be scheduled soon to take place within a few weeks and further deal with how The Montana 4 might be represented (private counsel or public defenders). The Montana 4 were told to apply for public defenders even though they may not be needed.
Jesse seemed to overplay his dad’s recent death and its consequences, claiming he and his brother was now responsible for 2 old widows and blah, blah, blah (his mother and grandmother).
Eric Trent advised the Court that his wife was due to give birth in mid-November.
Carter Phillips advised the Court that he and Bethany Boyd had gotten married and the Court indicated it would try to remember to address Bethany as “Bethany Phillips”. As for me, nothing was said there to convince me that the marriage was a legal matter as opposed to simply a church arrangement; like Kent Hovind uses.
While studiously avoiding admitting he wanted to seek asylum in North Carolina, Jesse claimed ignorance about such things and explained he wanted to find North Carolina counsel that would protect his supposedly peculiar rights as a North Carolina resident. The Judge explained how that might work; get a North Carolina attorney licensed in Montana or another willing to go “pro hac vice” like Pierce.
I think Jesse flat-out lied to the judge when, while pleading further ignorance, he claimed he never had any legal problems before. Jesse tried hard, seems to me, to present his “poor, nobody, ignorant preacher” image to the judge. I don’t think it works for him, but I’ve been seeing him play that hand for months now during his public shows.
After the hearing, Jesse posted the following to his FaceBook page:
Jesse has had over 9 months to seek out and employ “righteous and competent” legal counsel. He chose John M. Pierce & Co. instead. Seems Pierce could only put up with The Montana 4 antics so long, and that time ran out. We’ll see who The Montana 4 might now be compelled to settle for, or if they go for public defenders.
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