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Tags: supreme court | joseph fischer | obstruction | doj | donald trump

SCOTUS to Weigh Obstruction Law Used on 1/6 Defendants, Trump

By    |   Friday, 12 April 2024 04:51 PM EDT

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments involving a federal obstruction law that has been used to prosecute hundreds of defendants involved in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and the outcome could affect former President Donald Trump.

The high court will be asked to define the scope of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was enacted in 2002 following the Enron scandal. President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has used the law to prosecute more than 300 Jan. 6 defendants, and the law also relates to two charges special counsel Jack Smith brought against Trump in a D.C. election interference case.

The Supreme Court also will be hearing oral arguments April 25 in Trump’s case regarding his claim that he can’t be prosecuted because of presidential immunity.

On Tuesday, the court will hear oral arguments in Fischer v. United States, which involves Joseph Fischer, a former police officer from Pennsylvania. According to court documents, he attended the Stop the Steal rally on the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6. He and a companion then left town, but after learning of the crowd swelling at the Capitol, they returned and joined in, though not until after Congress had suspended efforts to certify the results of the 2020 election.

Fischer entered the Capitol, made it about 20 feet into the building, was pushed by the crowd into a line of officers and got pepper sprayed, then left the building. He was inside for about four minutes.

Federal authorities charged him with seven counts, but the one before the justices is Title 18 Section 1512(c), which reads: “Whoever corruptly – (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or (2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

U.S. District Court judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, sided with Fischer, saying the law was only intended to apply to evidence tampering that obstructs an official proceeding. But the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Nichols, ruling that “[u]nder the most natural reading of the statute,” the law “applies to all forms of corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding, other than the conduct that is already covered by” the evidence-tampering provision.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments involving a federal obstruction law that has been used to prosecute hundreds of defendants involved in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and the justices' decision could affect former President Donald Trump.
supreme court, joseph fischer, obstruction, doj, donald trump
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2024-51-12
Friday, 12 April 2024 04:51 PM
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