The existential fate of the First Amendment of the US Constitution rests in the hands of the Supreme Court and whether the high court of appeal will strike down 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2), the most serious criminal charges leveled against former President Donald Trump and an ever-growing number of January 6 defendants.
1512 criminalizes any effort to “corruptly” obstruct, influence or impede any official proceeding.” A conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Last April, an appellate court issued a splintered 2-1 ruling endorsing the DOJ’s unprecedented misuse of the statute, a law passed under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 outlawing evidence tampering in the aftermath of the Enron/Arthur Anderson accounting scandal. The law has never in United States history been used to prosecute demonstrators or rioters.
Jonathon Moseley, an investigative researcher and paralegal with Former Feds Group, a team of former federal government lawyers turned defense counsel, provided The Gateway Pundit analysis of the 1512 Obstruction of Official Proceeding appeal that is looming on the Supreme Court Docket:
On Monday, January 29, a Supreme Court decision leaped closer. Joseph Fischer filed his Principal “Brief on the Merits” by attorney Frederich Ulrich which you can read here.
Attorney Ed Tarpley filed an Amicus Curiae (friend of the Court) brief for Brad Geyer’s FormerFeds Freedom Foundation. America’s Future with others also filed a brief here. Christopher Warnagiris, Christopher Carnell, and William Robert Norwood, III filed a brief.
For non-lawyers, it might take a few read-throughs, but you can still get a lot out of reading these.
Is “obstruction of an official proceeding” through public demonstrations actually a crime or has the U.S. Department of Justice invented a new crime that doesn’t exist? If the Supreme Court returns the statute to its previous interpretation and rejects prosecutorial adventurism, convictions of a hundred or so J6ers would be vacated, especially the harshest sentences. Hundreds more awaiting trial would have 1512 removed.
The DoJ and U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves are prosecuting Donald Trump under 4 counts of protesting the 2020 presidential election. Two of the four charges are for violating 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2) and (k) for conspiring to do so. Because the other two counts are fuzzy, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case against Trump could collapse in an ocean of vagueness without the only two clear counts.
Hundreds of Defendants have taken plea deals because of the severe threat of being charged with 18 U.S.C. 1512. Attorney Roger Roots is battling cases where the DoJ offers plea deals usually of “the four misdemeanors” and then adds felonies like 1512 as retaliation against Defendants who won’t plead guilty.
Judge Carl Nichols dismissed 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2) charges against three January 6 Defendants – Jake Lang, Garrett Miller, and Joseph Fischer – on the grounds that the conduct alleged was outside of the reach of the statute. The statute was passed as a species of obstruction of justice by tampering with evidence. It has never been used in this way before. Prosecutors are in effect “legislating from the Grand Jury room,” inventing non-existent crimes as if they were Congress.
Trouble is: the DoJ has never used this statute before for demonstrations, even those protests that have descended into skirmishes, violence, riots, arson, assault, death or worse. Washington, D.C. was under siege of arson and riots in 2017 before and during Donald Trump’s inauguration. If the DoJ has never before believed that 18 U.S.C. 1512 covers demonstrations, why should the Supreme Court take a different view today?
Merrick Garland wants to apply a statute in a way very different from the DoJ’s own past behavior.
In May-June 2020, leftist rioters “obstructed official proceedings” at the White House. See: Jon Lockett,”50 Secret Service agents injured in White House riots as Donald Trump is taken to ‘terror attack’ bunker,” The Sun, June 1, 2020. The nation’s worldwide military forces and diplomatic corps are supervised and controlled by the White House. Yet the Secret Service had to rush the Commander in Chief into an underground bunker designed for nuclear war.
Did the DoJ as recently as 2020 charged anyone under 18 U.S.C. 1512? No. When protestors against Brett Kavanaugh occupied the Hart Senate Office Building and obstructed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee? No.
(Note that most Defendants have been “over-charged” with multiple counts, unlike Leftist rioters. So other statutes could apply. But those are not 20 year felonies like 1512. Most Defendants would face only a maximum of 6 months instead, even a downward revision for many of those convicted.)
The FormerFeds Freedom Foundation is hoping for donations of $15,000 for all phases of its research, brief, expenses, work by lawyers and paralegals, and spreading the message. Because this was not anticipated as part of their normal budget, they are asking for tax-deductible donations at https://formerfedsgroup.org/donate/. They are mainly working at this time on Big Pharma’s actions during the COVID pandemic. https://chbmp.org/
Joseph Fischer is represented on appeal by an excellent team of Federal Public Defenders led by Frederich Ulrich. But that means they and he cannot accept donations for the appeal because their office is taxpayer-funded. The Gateway Pundit has inquired if Fischer has a donation link or page for other expenses or legal work in the past.
Of course, The Gateway Pundit has covered the work of Jake Lang in appealing this issue and breaking much of the ground in bringing this to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the able assistant of attorneys Norm Pattis and Steve Metcalf. Lang filed an excellent brief asking the Supreme Court to take the case. However, the Supreme Court explicitly took Joseph Fischer’s appeal, although probably implicitly including Lang’s appeal as well. Miller has meanwhile taken a plea deal, but may have unpaid legal bills.
Jake Lang is seeking donations for dozens of January 6 Defendants through his “J6 Legal Fund” at https://www.givesendgo.com/J6Legal or https://www.january6defensefund.org. Lang invested tremendous work and expense in this effort.
RELATED: BREAKING: Latest SCOTUS Filing Has Potential to Impact Hundreds of J6 Cases – Lawyers Seek to Toss Controversial 1512 Obstruction Charges Against January 6 Defendant Jake Lang, https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/07/breaking-latest-scotus-filing-has-potential-impact-hundreds/
Hundreds of January 6 demonstrators have been charged and many convicted for obstructing the counting of Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021, even though (a) most of these people arrived on Capitol Hill after Congress had already recessed and (b) the U.S. Capitol Police furiously refuses to release the documents showing exactly why Congress recessed starting at 2:18 PM.
RELATED: Report: J6 Pipe Bomber Was ‘Former’ Government Official – FBI Had His License Plate Number but Refused to Interview Him, https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2024/01/report-j6-pipe-bomber-was-former-government-official/
Probably, given the intense resistance, USCP documents would show it was the discovery of the pipe bombs that triggered Congress’ recess. Documents the Government desperately doesn’t want us to see would likely exonerate hundreds of people including Donald Trump. Trump’s lawyers have not yet followed up on this, however. For that matter, Speaker Mike Johnson could order the Capitol Police to release all the records, but he has not. Many defense attorneys have demanded these records, but have been ignored by the judges.
Lang, Miller, and Fischer also argued powerfully that the statute is unconstitutionally “void for vagueness” and “overbroad.” In other words, there is no clear definition of “corruptly”, because there are too many different definitions. Fischer’s and Lang’s appeal and briefs ask the Supreme Court to strike the statute as unconstitutional.
The Court of Appeals issued 3 different opinions over more than 100 pages sort of not really deciding much. See: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/court/us-dc-circuit/2196041.html
Keep an eye on the developing docket at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/23-5572.html
**PLEASE SUPPORT THE FORMER FEDS GROUP’S JANUARY 6 LITIGATION HERE***
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