One of the attorneys representing Louisiana megachurch pastor Tony Spell, who has refused to close his church despite the COVID-19 crisis, is now hospitalized with the virus.
Jeff Wittenbrink is part of the legal team led by accused child molester Roy Moore, which is representing Spell in a fight over Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings.
According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Wittenbrink attended two recent events at Spell’s Life Tabernacle Church, an April 2 news conference and an April 5 service. He has been at Baton Rouge General Hospital since Tuesday with worsening conditions.
The Advocate reports: Reached in his hospital room Thursday while taking oxygen through his nose, Wittenbrink said he did not feel ill during the church events and has “no idea” how he may have contracted the virus. “I went to Albertson’s twice a day. I went to Sam’s. I went to Walmart. I went to Lowe’s. I used the gas pumps. I mean I just wasn’t careful. God knows where I got it. The bad thing is I might have spread to somebody. I feel bad about that, ” he said. … When asked, Wittenbrink said his illness hasn’t changed his determination to represent Spell and the church or his belief in the righteousness of their cause. “I’m very proud of Pastor Spell. I think he’s one of the few people who understands we shouldn’t just throw away our civil liberties without a fight just because there’s some kind of crisis going on,” Wittenbrink said.
On Wednesday, after hosting Easter services that drew more than 1,100 people, Spell launched a “#PastorSpellStimulusChallenge,” in which he called for followers to donate their stimulus checks to evangelists and missionaries.