Supreme Court to hear January 6 cases that could affect Trump

A January 6 rioter’s claim that he did not obstruct a congressional proceeding could have ramifications for Trump’s case

Eric Garcia
Wednesday 13 December 2023 16:23 GMT
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The US Supreme Court will hear a case of a January 6 defendant that could potentially affect former president Donald Trump’s legal battles.

The Supreme Court will hear the case of Joseph Fischer, who was charged for his role in the riot at the US Capitol on January 6. Prosecutors also charged Edward Lang and Garrett Miller for obstructing an official proceeding after they disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

During the Capitol riot, Mr Fischer encouraged rioters to “charge” and “hold the line,” and also had a “physical encounter” with at least one law enforcement officer. He had reportedly sent text messages saying “If Trump don’t get in we better get to war,” and wanted to take Democratic officials “to the gallows.”

All three of the men argue that Mr Fischer could not have obstructed a congressional proceeding because of the fact that Mr Fischer arrived at the Capitol after Congress had already recessed.

But in April, the US Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling which said that individuals who assault law enforcement officers “can be charged with corruptly obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding.”

In August, Mr Trump was charged with obstructing an official proceeding as a result of US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Mr Trump’s actions on and leading up to January 6.

Mr Trump was also charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to deny the right for a vote to be counted.

The news comes as the Supreme Court will already play another role in Mr Trump’s election obstruction case.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to expedite consideration of Mr Smith’s request for a decision about Mr Trump’s argument that he is protected for crimes committed while he was in office under the claim of “presidential immunity.”

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, has already rejected the claim, saying that his tenure of office did not bestow “the divine right of kings” upon the former president.

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