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OPINION

How the Tide May Be Turning for Jan. 6 Defendants, Trump

supreme court justice at the capitol

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch arrived for U.S. President Joe Biden's State of the Union address in the U.S. House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/via Getty Images)

Michael Dorstewitz By Friday, 19 April 2024 09:20 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a case that could lead to the dismissal of charges against hundreds of January 6 defendants, and may even do the same in one of the cases filed against former President Trump.

The issue under consideration in Fischer v. United States (Docket No. 23-5572) is whether proof of merely entering the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, is enough to support a finding of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Petitioner and former Pennsylvania police officer Joseph Fischer argued that the law was misapplied in this case — that the statute was only intended to apply to evidence tampering involving a congressional inquiry or investigation.

That charge was dismissed by the district court, but was reinstated by the circuit court on appeal. Observers concluded that court members were divided on the issue, and some of the questions they asked lawyers spoke volumes — especially those presented by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

He expressed concern that the government was applying the obstruction charge too broadly in this case.

"What does that mean for the breadth of this statute?" Gorsuch asked U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

"Would a sit-in that disrupts a trial or access to a federal courthouse qualify? Would a heckler at today's audience qualify, or a heckler at the State of the Union address?" Gorsuch continued.

Then he delivered the zinger.

"Would pulling a fire alarm before a vote qualify for 20 years in federal prison?"

The significance was pretty clear. Rep. Jamal Bowman, D-N.Y., was recorded by surveillance cameras removing warning signs and pulling a fire alarm at the Cannon House Office Building in late September.

The building was evacuated, his actions delayed a House vote on a government funding bill, and he pled guilty to a misdemeanor the following month.

But using the government’s reasoning on hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants, maybe he was undercharged.

Lawyer and SCOTUSBlog editor Amy Howe observed that if the court rules for Fischer, many other defendants will be affected.

"The court’s decision in Fischer’s case could affect charges against more than 300 other Jan. 6 defendants," she said.

One of those defendants is Rebecca Lavrez, a 71-year-old Colorado woman known as the "praying grandma."

She was found guilty of four misdemeanors for her 10-minute walk through the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

Howe noted that the Fischer decision "could also affect the proceedings in the case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith against former President Donald Trump in a federal court in Washington, D.C."

Lawyer, commentator, and former Fox News host Megyn Kelly agreed on this point.

"If they side with the defense here, it guts Jack Smith’s DC case against Trump. Huge huge import," she tweeted.

Kelly also agreed with other court watchers that the justices were divided on the issue, but added that it looked good, stating, "All 6 conservatives sound on side of the defense."

Things are looking up for the former president in other ways too. Despite having to sit each day through his Manhattan "hush money" trial, he’s found other ways to campaign.

Trump headed uptown Tuesday for an impromptu appearance in Harlem and was mobbed in the street by a crowd that included children, chanting "we love Trump!"

At another point during that same visit, they chanted, "four more years!"

The next day President Biden attempted to duplicate Trump’s success and made a surprise visit at a Pennsylvania gas station. He arrived with a huge entourage of aides and a cameraman to record all the excitement.

But there were no "we love Biden" chants, no "four more years."

He was embarrassingly ignored by everyone there. With fuel prices up more than 45% since he took office, maybe a gas station was a bad idea.

Things are looking up for the Jan. 6 defendants in other ways also.

D.C. National Guard Capt. Timothy Nick testified under oath on Capitol Hill Wednesday and destroyed the entire "insurrection" narrative.

"I can say unequivocally that the Inspector General's Review is riddled with inaccuracies, misstatements, and perhaps false flags and narratives regarding how critical Pentagon senior officials responded when our republic was under great stress," he testified.

Independent journalist Kyle Becker concluded from his testimony that, "The U.S. government allowed the January 6 riots to happen in order to frame Donald Trump and his supporters as 'insurrectionists.' It is simple as that."

For speaking the truth Nick also probably destroyed his military career.

When Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as America’s 38th president following Richard Nixon’s resignation,he announced "our long national nightmare is over."

Perhaps other nightmares are now coming to a close — for Trump, the Jan. 6 defendants, and for the American people.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


MichaelDorstewitz
The issue under consideration in Fischer v. United States is whether proof of merely entering the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, is enough to support a finding of obstruction of an official proceeding.
gorsuch, pentagon, scotus
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2024-20-19
Friday, 19 April 2024 09:20 AM
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