The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will review charges brought against former President Donald Trump and hundreds of J6 protestors related to obstruction of an official proceeding, a key offense that prosecutors have successfully wielded to convict hundreds of individuals.
The high court’s review will examine an appellate court’s ruling against three protestors accused of obstructing the certification of Electoral College votes by Congress, the AP reports. Four similar charges have been brought against President Trump by Biden Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who has accused the Republican leader of inciting riots through social media posts encouraging supporters to protest the certification of President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
The federal law known as 1512(c)(2) has been used against more than 300 J6 protestors and represents half of Smith’s case against President Trump.
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
A decision by the court could have massive implications for the March 4th, 2021 start date for President Trump’s trial which was already imperiled by the court’s previous announcement that it would review Trump’s assertion that he is immune from prosecution. The claim has been rejected by a lower court.
Another lower federal court has likewise already ruled that the obstruction argument against the three J6 protestors cannot apply to their conduct, leading the Supreme Court to take up the case. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols found that prosecutors stretched the law beyond its bounds to fit their argument, concluding that an obstructer must take “some action with respect to a document, record or other object.”
More than 1,200 people have been prosecuted with charges stemming from J6 with more than 650 defendants pleading guilty. The Justice Department’s seemingly endless stream of cases has roiled Washington where Republicans have called for more humane treatment of prisoners subjected to deplorable jail conditions while awaiting trial. Congressmen like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have organized trips with other GOP leaders to offer support to J6 prisoners.
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) has pointed to FBI involvement during the riots to claim that the federal government intentionally helped instigate violence on J6. Ray Epps, a protestor who gained notoriety by calling for violence and going years without prosecution, was alleged to be an FBI informant, a charge that Bureau Director Christopher Wray denied before Congress. Epps was charged earlier this year with a single count.