Supreme Court Takes Case With Major Implications For Trump, Jan. 6 Defendants

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The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear a case with major implications for hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants, as well as former President Donald Trump’s indictment on charges stemming from alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In a brief order, the justices agreed to hear a case stemming from Jan. 6 defendant Joseph Fischer’s request to dismiss a charge against him for obstructing an official proceeding. His case provides the Supreme Court an opportunity to rule on the scope of a statute, Section 1512(c)(2), which he argues has been used to charge hundreds of other defendants in an “unprecedented extension of the statute’s reach.”

“Hundreds of cases have been and will be affected by the scope of Section 1512(c)(2), including a case against the former President,” Fischer’s petition notes. “In addition, the use of Section 1512(c)(2) outside evidence impairment crimes is an extraordinary and unprecedented extension of the statute’s reach.”

The statute threatens to levy fines or up to 20 years in prison for anyone who “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding.” Jan. 6 defendants, including Fischer, have been charged under Section 1512(c)(2) for obstructing Congress’s certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump also faces the obstruction charge in his indictment for alleged efforts to interfere with the 2020 election.

Fischer argues that the government seeks to sever the statute “from its legislative, historical, and textual moorings.”

“The D.C. Circuit’s expansion of Section 1512(c)(2) beyond evidence impairment to protests at the seat of government thus conflicts with the interpretations of other courts of appeal limiting the scope of the same statute,” Fischer’s attorneys wrote in a court filing.

Two other defendants, Edward Lang and Garrett Miller, also earlier asked the Supreme Court to dismiss obstruction charges against them.

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