In a significant development, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take on a case related to January 6 defendants, which could have major implications for former President Donald Trump and hundreds of others facing charges related to the Capitol riot. The case concerns the interpretation of a federal obstruction law, and the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter could significantly impact the charges against Trump and other defendants.
The case, Fischer v. U.S., challenges a law that makes it a crime to obstruct or impede an official proceeding, a charge that has been brought against more than 300 people in connection with the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. This includes former President Trump himself, who has been charged with obstructing an official proceeding as part of the four charges he faces in a separate case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
The Supreme Court’s decision to review this case comes after a lower court judge ruled that the obstruction charge did not apply to one of the defendants, Joseph Fischer, because he had not taken “some action with respect to a document, record or other object.” This ruling has led to uncertainty and confusion among legal experts, as it potentially calls into question the validity of the obstruction charges against many of the January 6 defendants.
The Supreme Court’s eventual decision in the Fischer case could have far-reaching consequences, particularly for those defendants who are not accused of assaulting police. The obstruction charge carries a 20-year maximum sentence and has been used as a bargaining chip by the Department of Justice in plea negotiations with some of the rioters who entered the Capitol’s most sensitive areas.
In light of this, the January 6 select committee has urged the Department of Justice to charge Trump with this precise crime as well. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Fischer case could potentially impact the prosecution of Trump and other defendants, as it will provide clarity on the proper interpretation of the obstruction statute.
The U.S. Supreme Court has finally agreed to accept a case challenging . obstruction charges.
This case may have huge ramifications for the plaintiffs and those charged with “obstruction of Congress.” pic.twitter.com/Qxfpfzf0cO
— Facts Matter (@FactsMatterRB) December 18, 2023
As the Supreme Court prepares to review the appeal, the implications of the case on the charges against President Trump and other defendants are significant. The outcome of this case will not only impact the defendants but also the broader public, as it pertains to the interpretation and application of the obstruction statute in cases of obstruction of an official proceeding.