The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a case involving the January 6 riot defendants. This decision has potential implications for one of former President Donald Trump’s criminal cases, particularly the obstruction charge brought against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
The charge pertains to obstructing an official proceeding, specifically the disruption of Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election over Trump. The lower court had previously dismissed the obstruction charge against three defendants – Garret Miller, Joseph Fischer, and Edward Jacob Lang – ruling that their conduct did not warrant such a charge.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, who handled the case, concluded that the prosecutors had stretched the law beyond its intended scope. He emphasized that to be charged with obstructing an official proceeding, a defendant must have taken specific actions concerning a document, record, or other object. Nichols found that the defendant’s actions did not meet this requirement.
However, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice challenged this ruling, arguing that the judge’s interpretation of the law was too narrow. The appeals court in Washington, D.C., sided with the prosecutors, concurring that the law should be applied more broadly in these cases.
This Supreme Court decision to review the obstruction charge has significant implications for the three defendants involved and Trump’s forthcoming trial. Trump’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 4, but depending on the outcome of this case, the start date could be affected.
Notably, this case is just one of the many stemming from the January 6 riot. Over 300 individuals have been charged by the Justice Department with obstructing an official proceeding. In total, more than 1,200 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the events of that day, and over 650 defendants have already pleaded guilty.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in this case in the coming months and is anticipated to issue a ruling by the summer. This decision will undoubtedly be closely watched, as it has the potential to shape the legal landscape surrounding cases related to the January 6 riot, including that of former President Trump.