Supreme Court rules in favor of Jan. 6 defendant in dispute over obstruction charge

Written by on June 28, 2024

Ryan McGinnis/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of a former Pennsylvania police officer charged for his alleged participation in the U.S. Capitol attack, saying a felony obstruction charge was improperly applied in his case.

The 6-3 opinion came from Chief Justice John Roberts. He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

At issue was whether a 2002 law enacted in the wake of the Enron scandal to prevent the destruction of evidence in financial crimes could be used against alleged participants in the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol of Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted congressional certification of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.

The court’s majority wrote it could not, dismissing the government’s interpretation of the statute as overly broad.

To prove a violation of the law at hand, the court said “the Government must establish that the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects.”

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