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Prominent Georgia attorney and CNN legal contributor drowns while swimming off the coast of Georgia

A Georgia lawyer and CNN legal officer drowned after swimming with his teenage son in the sea near their coastal home.

Page Pate, 55, died after being swept off the coast of St. Simons Island, Georgia in a rip current Sunday afternoon.

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

At the time of his death, he was spending time with his two sons and wife Elizabeth at their $1 million coastal home.

First responders were called just after 2 p.m. to two swimmers who were ‘in distress’ on the beach at Gould’s Inlet.

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

He said the “adolescent victim reached shore safely” while the water rescue team was on the scene.

Page Pate, 55, died after being swept away in a rip current off the coast of St. Simons Island, Georgia Sunday afternoon

Page Pate, 55, died after being swept away in a rip current off the coast of St. Simons Island, Georgia Sunday afternoon

First responders were called to two swimmers 'in distress' on Gould's Inlet beach, pictured just after 2pm

First responders were called to two swimmers 'in distress' on Gould's Inlet beach, pictured just after 2pm

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

A lifeboat pulled Pate out of the water and took him to hospital, but he was pronounced dead.

DiCristofalo said the beach is known for rip currents, adding: “I have no direct information as to whether they were together and pulled out.”

Pate’s law firm, Pate, Johnson and Church, paid tribute to the attorney, saying, “Once the shock is gone, it just hurts. And there is no easy way to get rid of that except time and grief.

“But I think we can also take one thing with us: the celebration of this man’s life.

“Although he was a formidable, sometimes intimidating lawyer in the courtroom, Page had an easy smile, a genuine laugh and a great sense of humor.”

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

It’s not clear which of his sons ran into trouble while swimming with Pate.

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

Jason Sheffield, an Atlanta trial attorney and president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called Pate “a larger-than-life person and attorney.”

Gylnn County Fire-Rescue Acting Chief Vinnie DiCristofalo confirmed the two swimmers were Pate and his teenage son, although it's not clear which child he was in the water with.

Gylnn County Fire-Rescue Acting Chief Vinnie DiCristofalo confirmed the two swimmers were Pate and his teenage son, although it's not clear which child he was in the water with.

Gylnn County Fire-Rescue Acting Chief Vinnie DiCristofalo confirmed the two swimmers were Pate and his teenage son, although it’s not clear which child he was in the water with.

Pate regularly provided expert commentary and analysis on legal issues to media organizations including The New York Times, CNN, NPR and The Associated Press.  May tributes be paid to the 'formidable' lawyer

Pate regularly provided expert commentary and analysis on legal issues to media organizations including The New York Times, CNN, NPR and The Associated Press.  May tributes be paid to the 'formidable' lawyer

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

At the time of his death, he was spending time with his two sons and wife Elizabeth at their seaside home in St Simon

At the time of his death, he was spending time with his two sons and wife Elizabeth at their seaside home in St Simon

At the time of his death, he was spending time with his two sons and wife Elizabeth at their seaside home in St Simon

State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat who is running for the Georgia Attorney General this fall, posted a tribute to the attorney on social media.

She said, “Devastated to hear that my friend Pate Page passed away this weekend. We were friends for almost 30 years and were from the same part of GA.

‘He was brilliant, kind, professional – and could go on a rampage as a witness. What a loss to his family and 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: “Pa was a fierce advocate for the criminally accused and wrongly convicted, and was a visionary founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project 20 years ago.

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