REPORT: Attorney representing La. pastor defying governor’s stay-at-home order hospitalized for coronavirus

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 2:25 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge attorney, who is representing Pastor Tony Spell of the Life Tabernacle Church in Central, told The Advocate newspaper Thursday, April 16 he has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 is commonly known as the coronavirus.

Spell has made local and national headlines recently after being charged for defying Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order and holding church services in Central.

ONE-STOP-SHOP: Everything you need to know related to Baton Rouge area impact of COVID-19

Spell’s attorney, Jeff Wittenbrink, 59, told The Advocate he attended two events at the Life Tabernacle Church earlier this month. One event was a news conference on April 2 and the other event was a church service on April 5.

The newspaper reports Wittenbrink has been in Baton Rouge General hospital since testing positive for the coronavirus Tuesday, April 14.

RELATED: Member of Life Tabernacle Church dies of COVID-19, records say

Wittenbrink told the newspaper he did not feel ill during any of the events at the Life Tabernacle Church and does not know how he contracted the coronavirus.

The attorney told the newspaper he had recently frequented several area stores and gas stations.

“I mean I just wasn’t careful,” Wittenbrink told The Advocate.

Wittenbrink is serving as the local counsel for former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Spell hired Moore April 1 to represent him and defend him against the charges he was facing for defying the stay-at-home order.

RELATED: Pastor of La. church charged, accused of disobeying governor’s order

Wittenbrink told the newspaper that his contraction of the coronavirus will not deter him from representing Spell and the Life Tabernacle Church.

The attorney also told the newspaper members of the church had their temperatures checked, practiced social distancing measures, and used hand sanitizer during the service he attended on April 5.

Spell was charged March 31 with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying the powers of the governor.

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