Sat. May 18th, 2024

Supreme Court tackles Jan. 6 obstruction charge with Trump case looming

By 37ci3 Apr14,2024

“It’s our house, brother!” in the video, Fisher is seen saying that day. After an officer tells Fisher to turn around and leave, he appeals to the officer to stand by them “like a patriot.”

“Kneel down! Kneel down!” Members of the crowd shouted as they typed into Fisher’s cell phone.

Fisher, who has not yet been arraigned, faces charges including assault on a police officer and trespassing. These charges will not be affected by the court’s decision on the obstruction count.

Trump has cited the Fisher case, including in his most recent appeal to the Supreme Court to seek presidential immunity for his actions in trying to overturn the election results. Oral arguments in this case will take place on April 25.


In Fisher’s case, the law is at issue Title 18, Section 1512(c)(2), of the US Code, which makes it a crime to “corruptly” obstruct, influence, or attempt to obstruct any official proceeding. The charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The government announced on January 6 that approximately 330 defendants were charged with violating the law.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. and Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, filed the complaint. short In Fisher’s case, he said the Justice Department used the law as “a comprehensive weapon against legal political opponents.”

The provision was enacted in 2002 as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a bill passed in the wake of the Enron accounting scandal. Thus, the defendants say that it was written to falsify and solve the evidence never intended to refer to an event like January 6th.

Fisher’s attorneys argue that the provision is limited to tampering with evidence, pointing to language in another part of the law that refers to records and documents. Therefore, it should not apply to Fisher’s actions, such as the alleged assault of a police officer.

Joseph Fisher at the
Joseph Fisher at the “Stop Stealing” rally on January 6, 2021.USDCDC

Trump’s lawyers have made similar arguments that his alleged conduct is not covered by the obstruction statute. their short In the immunity case, the statute is “extended beyond its natural meaning” when applied to Trump, who faces a total of four charges.

While outlining Trump’s alleged criminal acts, the election meddling charge focuses on his broad scheme to stay in power by calling on Congress to reject the certificates of election certifying Biden’s victory. Trump and his allies have instead tried to introduce replacement certificates made by so-called “fake voters.”

Prosecutors argue that Trump’s actions were legal because he made false statements to members of Congress and others and submitted false documents.

Special prosecutor Jack Smith, who prosecuted Trump, said this its final summary in this case, regardless of how the court ruled in Fisher, “the Section 1512 charges are valid in this case.”

That’s because, unlike Fisher’s case, Trump’s prosecution involves an alleged conspiracy to falsify documents, that is, an effort to use “fake election certificates, not genuine ones” to certify results in Congress, Smith said.

Smith also referred short The lawsuit filed by Fischer’s lawyers in a lawsuit discussed on Tuesday. They are seeking a narrow reading of the law that would ensure that charges against their clients are dismissed, but that would apparently leave open the option of someone being prosecuted for “making false allegations” or “perjury.”

If the Supreme Court were to take that approach, Fisher could win, but Trump’s own charges could be moot, said attorney Richard Bernstein, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the government.

“All parties in the Fisher case agree that the statute applies to false statements and the submission of false documents. If the court agrees, it doesn’t matter to Mr. Trump how they decide on Fisher’s specific case,” he added.

Federal public defender Fritz Ulrich, one of Fischer’s attorneys, said the language cited by Smith was merely intended to bolster his arguments that the law limited its reach.

“We did not pay attention to the trial of the former president,” he added.

Broad application of the statute

The incident at the heart of Fisher’s case occurred around 3:25 p.m. on January 6, just as police were beginning to regain control of the building. Fisher later bragged about his effort to cross the police line, the government said.

“The police line was 4 deep. I took it to the second level,” Fisher wrote. The government too he said After Fisher was arrested a few weeks after the attack, he was “accustomed and docile” and had to be “physically restrained” by his son after an FBI special agent arrived at a hearing involving Fisher.

Fisher’s attorneys argued that Fisher was only at the Capitol for a short time and was interested in obtaining more cellphone footage.

“Mr. Fischer did not ‘assault’ anyone on January 6th. He was only inside the Capitol for four minutes,” his lawyers said. he wrote filed a lawsuit last year.

Various Jan. 6 defendants in lower courts echoed Trump and Fisher in saying the obstruction law applies too broadly.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, who oversaw Fisher’s case, initially dismissed the charge.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the government last year, prompting Fisher to appeal to the Supreme Court. Two other January 6 defendants Edward Lang and Garrett Millerthe outcome brought similar appeals that would be dictated by the decision in Fisher’s case.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, has often struck back the Justice Department’s broad application of criminal laws.

One beneficiary of this approach is a Florida fisherman His conviction under another provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was overturned in a 2015 ruling.

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By 37ci3

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