Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Supreme Court’s Jan. 6 ruling unlikely to derail Trump’s case

By 37ci3 Jun29,2024



WASHINGTON – Friday’s Supreme Court ruling January 6 in favor of the defendant charged with obstruction A formal process quickly led to action to reconsider the other charge Capitol Rebel cases, however, are unlikely to undermine former President Donald Trump’s federal election meddling claim.

Justice Department officials and attorneys for the defendants said on Jan. 6 that the court’s 6-3 ruling in the case of former Pennsylvania State Police Officer Joseph Fisher will not immediately affect most of the more than 1,000 sentences sought by prosecutors.

The court’s decision is set to have the biggest impact on the 52 rioters convicted of obstruction and no other serious crime. Currently, 27 defendants are serving prison terms only on felony obstruction charges.

“There are no circumstances in which the department has charged the January 6 defendant with only the crime in question in Fisher,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Friday.

All of the defendants charged with obstruction faced other charges; The 52 people who faced only felony obstruction charges also faced felony charges in connection with their attempts to disrupt congressional confirmation of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Garland later said that while he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision, the Justice Department “will continue to use all available means to bring to justice those responsible for the attack on our democracy on Jan. 6.”

One of the defendants on Jan. 6, who is unlikely to be greatly affected by Friday’s decision, is charged with obstruction of Trump’s election interference case.

Andrew Weissmann, who served as the lead prosecutor in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, told MSNBC’s “Deadline: The White House” that he did not expect it to have any impact on the case.

“I don’t think it will have any bearing on Trump’s January 6 impeachment,” Weissmann said.

Sarah R. FitzpatrickA lawyer following the Fisher case agreed that the decision does not affect special counsel Jack Smith’s case against Trump. The Supreme Court made a decision on Trump’s presidential immunity claim on monday.

“The ruling essentially limits section 1512(c)(2) to actions that falsify or falsify any evidence or any other document or object used in an official proceeding,” Fitzpatrick said. “The law will still apply to people accused of doing anything to any documents involved in that certification, and one of the things President Trump is accused of is creating fake election certificates and using them instead of real election certificates. .”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case.

Speaking at a campaign rally on Friday, Trump praised the court’s decision.

“They have been waiting for this decision for a long time. They have been waiting for a long time and this was a great response. It was a great thing for people who were treated so horribly,” Trump told supporters in Chesapeake, Virginia.

On January 6, the appeals of other suspects began to come up on Friday. It was Robert Turner has been convicted obstruction, as well as a number of charges including two other felonies — civil disorderly conduct and assaulting, resisting or obstructing officers — after a jury trial this month, Fisher asked the judge to acquit him.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras suspended the July 22 trial after prosecutors filed a joint motion with co-defendant William Pope on Jan. 6 to delay the case following the Supreme Court ruling.

“Both parties are evaluating decisions regarding the charges, presentation of evidence and jury instructions in this matter,” he said. he said.

U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich took a proactive approach on Friday, Jan. 6, by asking prosecutors and defense attorneys in three cases involving convicted and sentenced defendants to propose a timetable for further proceedings related to the ruling’s impact. protest hearings. Those defendants were Guy Reffitt – the first defendant to go on trial on January 6 – who was convicted More than seven years in federal prison in August 2022; Ronald SandlinHe attacked the officers and entered the Senate chamber and recorded himself was convicted Five years in federal prison in December 2022; and Jacob Travis Clark, who was sentenced in October 2023 to 33 months in prison.

Friedrich also suggested that he could dismiss obstruction charges against co-defendant Zachary Alam on Jan. 6, who used his helmet to smash windows into the House Speaker’s lobby shortly before rioter Ashley Babbitt was shot and killed. Alam was due to be sentenced next month after being convicted on a number of charges last year. Friedrich also asked both sides to submit documents regarding the effect of the Fischer decision on Alam’s sentencing guidelines.

On Jan. 6, supporters of the defendants and lawyers representing them in court reacted positively to the Supreme Court’s decision, although they acknowledged that it was complex and its ultimate impact was yet to be determined.

“Open the prison doors!” A lawyer defending the January 6 suspects, who did not want to be named, joked.

Former federal prosecutor Bill Shipley, who represented dozens of defendants in the Capitol riots, said the ramifications of the Fisher decision would be complex.

“It’s not necessarily going to solve things like some are expecting,” he said.

“You’ve never had a situation like this before,” he said. “I’m not aware of any previous case where hundreds of people have been charged with the same crime for the same incidents, only to have the Supreme Court say it was misapplied and all these cases should be retried at the same time. . In this sense, it is not clear how it will be played.”

Shipley said many of the defendants currently affected by the decision and seeking bail will remain behind bars until all complications are resolved. But he also said there is a risk for some defendants in seeking help.

“There will be cases where the defendant pleads guilty to a single charge and the government denies all other charges. Well, the government can fill all the other counts,” Shipley said. “The government has a 99.9% conviction rate, what do they have to fear? They have nothing to fear from going back and refiling the case and counting more. So some of these defendants can get away with their crimes. if it’s worth working for, they have a real decision to make.”

On the other side of the docket, Justice Department officials say that while the Supreme Court decision will certainly have an impact, it won’t affect their work or the way they approach prosecuting cases.

“It’s not a death knell for our efforts that some people have exposed this,” one law enforcement official told NBC News.



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