Lawyer for Christian pastor who ignored lockdown orders is hospitalized with coronavirus

Louisiana pastor Tony Spell has openly flouted the executive order that bans churches from having large gatherings, and now his lawyer, Jeff Wittenbrink has contracted coronavirus. Wittenbrink has been hospitalized with pneumonia in both lungs and is hooked up to oxygen, TMZ reports.

Wittenbrink was admitted Tuesday to Baton Rouge Medical Center and is also fighting a high fever and a serious cough he told TMZ. He attended services at Spell’s Life Tabernacle Church on April 2nd and April 5 (Palm Sunday) and said he shook hands with Spell. The pastor subsequently washed his hands with hand sanitizer, something that Spell now does after he shakes hands with people, Wittenbrink added.

Because his condition began to worsen over the weekend, Wittenbrink and his wife didn’t attend Easter services. Even so, the lawyer says he doesn’t believe he contracted the virus at the church. Instead, he says he thinks he contracted it while doing daily errands at grocery stores, drug stores, and hardware stores.

More than 2000 people in Louisiana have been hospitalized with the virus, but even so, the Baton Rouge lawyer is representing Spell’s church in support of its defiant stance against the state’s stay-at-home order.

Spell has previously said his die-hard followers won’t mind dying from COVID-19 “in the name of God and freedom.” His Easter Sunday service was jammed with parishioners and he’s already been arrested once. Police have noted they are working with the District Attorney to bring additional charges.

Megan Hamilton

Megan Hamilton has traveled extensively throughout the Southern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central America. A lifelong atheist, these travels have informed her political views. She currently lives in a remote location with a large herd of cats and four dogs.