Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Supreme Court takes challenge to Jan. 6 charge that could have implications for Trump

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The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to weigh in on Jan. 6 rioters’ case disputing an obstruction charge that could have implications for one of former President Donald Trump’s criminal cases. 

The justices agreed to review a lower court’s ruling that revived a charge against three defendants accused of obstructing an official proceeding.

That charge refers to the disruption of Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory over Trump.

Special Counsel Jack Smith also brought an obstruction charge against Trump, among four counts brought against the 2024 Republican primary frontrunner. Trump’s trial in that case is slated to begin March 4, but the Supreme Court’s decision to hear this case could impact Trump’s trial start date

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Over 300 people have been charged by the Justice Department with obstructing an official proceeding in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.

This case stems from three defendants – Garret Miller of Dallas, Joseph Fischer of Boston, and Edward Jacob Lang of New York’s Hudson Valley.

A lower court judge earlier dismissed the obstruction charge against three defendants, ruling that their conduct didn’t warrant that charge.

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U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols found that prosecutors stretched the law beyond its scope to inappropriately apply it in these cases. Nichols ruled that a defendant must have taken “some action with respect to a document, record or other object” to obstruct an official proceeding under the law.

Biden’s DOJ challenged that ruling, and the appeals court in Washington, D.C., agreed with prosecutors in April that Nichols’ interpretation of the law was too limited.

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Other defendants, including Trump, are separately challenging the use of the charge.

Over 1,200 people have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the riot, and more than 650 defendants have pleaded guilty.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in this case in the coming months and issue a ruling by the summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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