On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced that it would take up a significant case challenging the validity of one particular criminal charge that has been used to convict most of the January 6th defendants, and which also has major implications for President Donald Trump’s January 6th case.
As Breitbart reports, the case regards J6 defendant Joseph Fischer, who was among those indicted under 18 U.S.C. 1512, which address the act of “corruptly…obstructing, influencing, and impeding any official proceeding.” The obstruction charge has been used to convict most of the J6 defendants, even though the overwhelming majority of them were peacefully protesting at the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
Advocates for President Trump point out that prosecution under this particular charge, which was enacted in the aftermath of the Enron scandal, was meant to deal with attempts to cover up white-collar crimes through destruction of evidence, and thus does not apply to the protests which took place at the Capitol. As such, a possible overturning of J6 convictions under this statute would not only have wide-reaching implications for all of the J6 defendants, but for Trump as well.
“Today was a bad day for Jack Smith, and a good day for the rule of law,” said former U.S. Ambassador Ken Blackwell. “The criminal law at issue here is the heart of Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump. Biden’s Justice Department now must try justifying pursuing President Trump. The result should be that the courts will hold that this statute does not apply to these facts. This is a power grab where those in power are desperately attempting to jail Biden’s leading 2024 rival.”
Prosecutors claim, without evidence, that Fischer assaulted Capitol Police on January 6th in an effort to disrupt Congress’ certification of the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election, which was widely criticized as being rife with voter fraud. His trial was set to start on March 4th, 2024, but the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the appeal has now indefinitely postponed that trial.
Following the announcement from the Supreme Court, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the J6 case against Trump brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, announced an indefinite stay on all proceedings in Trump’s trial, pending the Supreme Court’s review.
The case in question is Fischer v. United States, No. 23-5572.