The defendant from the January 6, 2021 demonstration has agreed to have a case examined by the U.S. Supreme Court. He claims he was wrongfully charged with a felony under a federal obstruction legislation that has nothing to do with his actions during the protest. This could have an impact on the special counsel Jack Smith's election interference investigation against former President Donald Trump, which was brought under the same statute. The results of this investigation could also have an impact on the cases of hundreds of defendants from the January 6 demonstration who are facing comparable charges; appeals from people like Edward Lang and Garret Miller could be among them.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed in 2002 in reaction to the Enron accounting crisis, included the statute that is currently being reviewed. Defendants contend that events such as the one on January 6 were not included in its original objective.
HOLY SH*T: Supreme Court will review 1512(c)(2), obstruction of an official proceeding case.
This is felony used against 300+ J6ers and represents half of Jack Smith's indictment against Trump.
If SCOTUS determines DOJ has misused the statute…will be a game changer.
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) December 13, 2023
The Department of Justice has charged Pennsylvanian Joseph Fischer for "Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting" in accordance with this legislation. The enforcement of a felony charge with a potential 20-year prison sentence is the reason behind the DOJ's reliance on this provision.
The obstruction charges against Fischer were dropped by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in March 2022, but the DOJ was subsequently vindicated when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reinstated the charges by a vote of 2-1. At first, Judge Nichols had come to the conclusion that the provision only applied to document destruction, and as Fischer was not accused by the DOJ of engaging in any such activity in connection with the Capitol incursion, the statute was not applicable. The D.C. Circuit Court disapproved, concluding that the January 6 defendants might be covered under the statute's wording.
The Supreme Court will now have to decide whether the January 6 defendants are covered by the Act. This ruling may cause Trump's election meddling lawsuit to be delayed from its planned March trial start date. Although the case's wider implications are yet unknown, Smith may not be able to get Trump tried and found guilty before the 2024 election if this happens.