Some January 6 Defendants Being Released amid Appeal That Impacts Trump’s Case

Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol building following a "Stop the Steal" ral
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Some January 6 defendants are being released from prison on federal judges’ orders pending an appeal in the United States Supreme Court centered on interpretations of obstructing an official proceeding as oral arguments approach.

The Washington Post reported on federal judges’ decisions to release a “handful” of defendants amid the appeal in the Fischer v. United States case. Some have already been released, and others are scheduled to be released soon.

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“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.

The case potentially bears substantial implications for more than 100 January 6 defendants, whose lone felony charge is obstruction of an official proceeding, per the Post.

It also impacts former President Donald Trump’s federal case concerning his challenge of the 2020 election results. As Breitbart News Capitol Hill Correspondent Bradley Jaye reported in December, a key issue in the Fischer case is the judicial scope of obstruction of an official proceeding which was enacted following the Enron scandal:

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.

Two of the four charges Trump faces in his case include Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding and Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding. The other charges are Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Conspiracy Against Rights.

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When the court opted to take on Fischer’s case in December, former U.S. Ambassador Ken Blackwell told Breitbart News, “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.”

The trial start date for Trump’s case was originally set for March 4, the eve of Super Tuesday, but it has been delayed amid Trump’s immunity challenge.

Oral arguments in the Fischer case will be heard on Tuesday.

The case is Fischer v. United States, No. 23-5572, in the Supreme Court of the United States.


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