Page Pate, 55, had been swimming with his teenage son close to their coastal home First responders were called to two swimmers ‘in distress’ at Gould’s Inlet beach just after 2pm on SundayPate's son managed to swim to safety, but Pate had to be rescued from the water before being rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead Pate’s law firm, Pate, Johnson and Church paid tribute to the lawyer calling him 'formidable' 

A Georgia defence attorney and CNN legal contributor has drowned after swimming in the sea with his teenage son near their costal home.

Page Pate, 55, died after being swept out into a rip current off the cost of St. Simons Island, Georgia, on Sunday afternoon.

The trial lawyer, who was also a prominent TV legal analyst, had worked for more than 25 years and divided his time between offices in Atlanta and Brunswick on the coast.

He had been spending time with his two sons and wife Elizabeth at their $1 million coastal home at the time of his death.

First responders were called to two swimmers ‘in distress’ at Gould’s Inlet beach just after 2pm.

Gylnn County Fire-Rescue acting Chief Vinnie DiCristofalo confirmed that the two swimmers were Pate and his teenage son.

He said that the ‘adolescent victim reached the shore safely’ while the water rescue team were heading to the scene.

Prominent Georgia attorney and CNN legal contributor Page Pate, 55, drowns while swimming off the coast of Georgia

Page Pate, 55, died after being swept out into a rip current off the cost of St. Simons Island, Georgia, on Sunday afternoon

Prominent Georgia attorney and CNN legal contributor Page Pate, 55, drowns while swimming off the coast of Georgia

First responders were called to two swimmers ‘in distress’ at Gould’s Inlet beach, pictured,  just after 2pm

A rescue boat pulled Pate from the water and took him to hospital but he was pronounced dead.

DiCristofalo said that the beach is known for its rip currents, adding: ‘I don’t have direct information whether they were together and got drawn out.’

Pate’s law firm, Pate, Johnson and Church paid tribute to the lawyer, saying: ‘Once the shock wears off, it’s just hurt. And there’s no easy way about getting rid of that, except for time and grieving.

‘But I think one thing we can also take with us is the celebrations of this man’s life.

‘Though he was a formidable, sometimes intimidating, attorney in the courtroom, Page had an easy smile, an earnest laugh, and a great sense of humor.’

He leaves behind his two sons, Chatham and Asher, as well as his wife Elizabeth, 53.

It is not clear which of his sons got into difficulty while swimming with Pate.

Pate frequently provided expert commentary and analysis on legal issues to  media organizations including The New York Times, CNN, NPR and The Associated Press.

Jason Sheffield, a metro Atlanta trial lawyer and president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called Pate ‘a larger-than-life person and attorney.’

Prominent Georgia attorney and CNN legal contributor Page Pate, 55, drowns while swimming off the coast of Georgia

Gylnn County Fire-Rescue acting Chief Vinnie DiCristofalo confirmed that the two swimmers were Pate and his teenage son, though it is not clear which child he was in the water with

Prominent Georgia attorney and CNN legal contributor Page Pate, 55, drowns while swimming off the coast of Georgia

Pate frequently provided expert commentary and analysis on legal issues to media organizations including The New York Times, CNN, NPR and The Associated Press. May tributes have been paid to the ‘formidable’ lawyer

Prominent Georgia attorney and CNN legal contributor Page Pate, 55, drowns while swimming off the coast of Georgia

He had been spending time with his two sons and wife Elizabeth at their coastal home in St Simon at the time of his death

State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat running this fall for Georgia attorney general, posted a tribute to the lawyer on social media.

She said: ‘Devastated to hear that my friend Pate Page died this weekend. We were friends for almost 30 years & came from same part of GA.

‘He was brilliant, kind, professional – and could cross examine the hell out of a witness. Such a loss to his family & everyone who loved him.’

Pate was also a founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project which said it was “heartbroken” by his death.

In a statement they said: ‘A fierce advocate for the criminally accused and unjustly convicted, Page was a visionary founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project twenty years ago.

‘He remained active with our organization over the years, consulting on cases, advising on media strategies, and raising awareness about wrongful convictions and GIP’s work.’

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