Supreme Court appeal by January 6 defendants could impact case against Trump

By 
 September 13, 2023

Newsweek reported this week that the Supreme Court is facing "a slew" of potential cases that could have a major impact on former President Donald Trump. 

As the news magazine explained, at issue are individuals who are petitioning America's highest judicial body after having been convicted on charges related to the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

Defense lawyers claim federal statute has been misapplied

One of them is New York resident Edward Lang, someone who according to Newsweek was found guilty of multiple crimes following the riot, including obstruction of an official proceeding.

However, Lang is seeking to have the Supreme Court hear an appeal of that conviction, with his legal team arguing that it was based on a misapplication of law.

Title 18, Section 1512 is the statute in question, and it states that 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.

Yet Lang's lawyers say that their client lacked the crime's "corrupt" element. What's more, they say that varying opinions among lower courts have created a "cacophonous result that leaves unsettled significant issues."

DOJ accused of trying to "punish and silence dissent"

"The petitioner submits that the Justice Department's overbroad application of the federal penal code to prosecute participants in the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol is the act of a behemoth unrecognized, unwarranted and unwelcome in American life," their petition reads.

"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," it goes on to add.

Lang is far from being the only January 6 defendant to find himself hit with obstruction of an official proceeding charges.

Other examples include Jacob "QAnon Shaman" Chansley, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, former Olympic swimmer Klete Kelle, as well as Trump himself.

Trump asks that judge recuse herself

Meanwhile, the former president is seeking to have the federal judge who will oversee his case in Washington, D.C. recuse herself.

According to CNN, his attorneys laid out their case in a brief submitted on Monday for why Judge Tanya Chutkan needs to go.

The filing points to comments that Chutkan made about the former president when trying other cases involving January 6 defendants which seem to suggest that she has already determined that Trump is guilty.

This included complaining that defendants showed "blind loyalty to one person, who, by the way, remains free to this day."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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