Release of Certain January 6 Defendants Occurring in the Wake of an Appeal That Influences Trump's Case

 April 11, 2024

As oral arguments approach, federal judges have granted the release of some defendants from prison on January 6 pending the outcome of an appeal to the United States Supreme Court concerning interpretations of obstructing an official proceeding.

Federal judges' decisions to release a "handful" of defendants amidst the appeal in the Fischer v. United States case were reported by The Washington Post. Others are slated for release in the near future, while some have already been released, as Breitbart News reported.

“Judges said they were acting because the high-court review significantly raised the possibility the felony convictions might be overturned,” noted the Post’s Spencer S. Hsu.

Defendants' Details

More than one hundred January 6 defendants, whose sole felony allegation is obstruction of an official proceeding, may be significantly impacted by this case, according to the Post.

Additionally, the federal case filed by former President Donald Trump challenging the 2020 election results is influenced by this development.

Bradley Jaye, a Capitol Hill correspondent for Breitbart News, reported in December that the judicial scope of obstruction of an official proceeding, which was established in the wake of the Enron scandal, is a central issue in the Fischer case:

The defendant, Joseph Fischer, was indicted on seven charges after January 6, but the charge in question is a count under a provision enacted after the Enron scandal for anyone who “corruptly … obstructs, influences and impedes any official proceeding,” known as 18 U.S.C. 1512.

Trump’s allies argue that the provision was clearly intended to cover the destruction of evidence related to white-collar crime and that the Supreme Court’s decision to examine this issue is bad news for U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith and the government’s broad interpretation of the statute.

Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding and Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding are two of the four allegations against Trump in his case.

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Conspiracy Against Rights are several more accusations the former president is facing.

Insider's Perspective

Former U.S. Ambassador Ken Blackwell told Breitbart News in December, when the court decided to hear Fischer's case, “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,” he added. “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.”

In light of Trump's challenge to his own immunity, the trial start date for his case, which was originally scheduled for March 4, the eve of Super Tuesday, has been postponed.

The Fischer case will witness the presentation of oral arguments on Tuesday. Fischer v. United States, case number 23-5572, is being heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.

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