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Tags: supreme court | donald trump | obstruction | capitol

Obstruction Case Before Supreme Court Could Aid Trump

By    |   Tuesday, 16 April 2024 01:14 PM EDT

Arguments were presented before the Supreme Court on Tuesday on whether an obstruction law used against a quarter of the defendants in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol is invalid.

USA Today reported the outcome could aid Donald Trump. The former president is facing charges related to trying to overturn the 2020 election. It could also have major consequences for the Jan. 6 defendants who were charged with obstruction — a charge which can add up to 20 years to a prison sentence.

The case involves former police officer Joseph Fischer, who was charged in the attack on the Capitol. Fischer maintains Congress approved the law in 2002 after the Enron scandal to target document shredding, which he says he didn't do at the Capitol, the newspaper said.

Attorneys for the government maintain the law is a "catchall" that includes blocking official meetings such as Congress counting Electoral College votes.

Reuters reported that conservative justices signaled skepticism toward the obstruction charge brought by the Justice Department.

Some of the conservative justices posed tough questions to Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar about the Justice Department's application of an obstruction provision in the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act — passed after the accounting fraud scandal at now-defunct energy company Enron — to Fischer's case, Reuters said.

"We have enforced it in a variety of prosecutions that don't focus on evidence tampering," Prelogar told conservative Justice Clarence Thomas. "Now I can't give you an example of enforcing it in a situation where people have violently stormed a building in order to prevent an official proceeding, a specified one, from occurring."

During the hearing, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked government lawyers if the obstruction law would be triggered if someone merely stood outside the Capitol and urged the crowd on, The New York Times reported.

The government said if there was evidence that the person was a ringleader of the crowd who made plans to help others to enter the building and stop the counting of electoral vote, then they could be charged with obstruction.

A federal judge had thrown out the specific charge against Fischer. The majority of a federal appeals court said that the broad terms of the statute were satisfied as applied to individuals who forcibly enter the Capitol.

"That the Court is intervening now suggests that the justices are interested in providing general clarity on an issue that has caused at least some confusion in a subset of the January 6 cases," Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas, told CNN.

Jeffrey Rodack

Jeffrey Rodack, who has nearly a half century in news as a senior editor and city editor for national and local publications, has covered politics for Newsmax for nearly seven years.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Arguments were presented before the Supreme Court on Tuesday on whether an obstruction law used against a quarter of the defendants in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol is invalid.
supreme court, donald trump, obstruction, capitol
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2024-14-16
Tuesday, 16 April 2024 01:14 PM
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