ANALYSIS – One of the most common federal felony charges brought against January 6 Capitol ‘rioters’ is ‘obstruction of an official proceeding.’ I put ‘rioters’ in quotes, because many of those charged by the Biden Department of Justice (DoJ) never rioted.
While there were violent rioters who viciously attacked police, and I have repeatedly stated that they should absolutely go to jail (just like similar violent BLM rioters), some on Jan. 6 simply entered the Capitol, or otherwise just wandered the halls.
That’s where the ‘obstruction’ charge comes in. And it carries a maximum 20-year sentence.
And DoJ might yet even charge former president Donald Trump with obstruction for his purported role in allegedly inciting the riot. Trump has already been indicted on a different ‘obstruction of justice’ charge related to his classified documents case.
The Epoch Times (TET) reported:
…federal prosecutors have charged more than 300 Jan. 6 defendants with obstructing congressional proceedings. The obstruction charge has been frequently used by the Justice Department during plea negotiations and as a means to coerce some Jan. 6 protesters into providing information to incriminate fellow protesters.
Until recently, barring a general pardon by the next president of all non-violent Jan. 6 offenders – which I would strongly support – there was little hope for those hundreds of non-violent Americans caught up in the FBI’s draconian Jan. 6 dragnet.
But now, one Jan. 6 defendant, Edward Jacob Lang, is asking the Supreme Court to hear his challenge of the ‘obstruction of an official proceeding’ charge levelled against him. He still has 10 other charges pending, including assaulting a police officer, but that’s a separate issue.
Obstruction is one of the charges most abused by the DoJ.
As Just the News (JTN) reported on what was stated in Lang’s court filing:
The obstruction charge could be levied against “anyone who attends at a public demonstration gone awry,” attorneys for Lang wrote in an appeal to the Supreme Court last week. The proceeding for which the charge was brought refers to the event where Congress certifies the Electoral College votes to confirm the president.
The charge “is nothing less than the weaponization of the penal code to stifle dissent; it sets a terrifying precedent unworthy of this nation’s history,” Lang’s attorneys also wrote.
Meanwhile, Lang has been in jail for over two and a half years (900 days) without a trial. I doubt any violent BLM rioters who assaulted police have been locked up as long, if at all.
Where is the ACLU when real government abuse is taking place and violating Americans’ civil liberties?
But who needs the ACLU when you have real legal warriors fighting for our civil rights. Lang’s attorney Norman Pattis told Newsweek that if they are successful in this case, the Supreme Court could overrule the cases of “hundreds of defendants.”
“The government misuse and abuse of the federal penal code in the [January 6] cases is shocking,” Pattis added.
As Newsweek reported:
The statute that Lang’s legal team is arguing has been too broadly applied in his case comes from a federal law that states an individual who “corruptly alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document” or “otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so” can be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
In the petition to the Supreme Court, Lang’s team argues that the defendant did not satisfy the “corrupt” element and that various interpretations in lower courts have led to a “cacophonous result that leaves unsettled significant issues…”
It went on: “Our political life for centuries has been fractious, with violence all too frequent. Seeking to punish and silence dissent in the name of democracy is the twisted dream of a slumbering tyrant.”
The petition urged the justices to hear the case “as the nation’s attention turns to the 2024 election.” It argued that there is “good reason” to suspect the Justice Department’s use of the statute will “serve to chill political speech and expression on the eve of one of the most consequential events in American life – the election of the next President of the United States.”
The judge said that the statute “must be interpreted” in such a way that “requires that the defendant have taken some action with respect to a document, record, or other object in order to corruptly obstruct, impede or influence an official proceeding.”
In other words, if someone hasn’t been accused of taking such an action, they cannot be charged with this violation.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.