Supreme Court Says DOJ Improperly Charged Hundreds of Jan. 6 Defendants

Alex Gakos/

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that federal prosecutors overreached when using an obstruction law to charge hundreds of rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The 6-3 decision could impact the cases of hundreds of rioters and may have an effect on part of the federal case against former President Trump, who is accused of trying to overturn the presidential election, The New York Times reports. Trump was charged with two obstruction-related charges. 

A majority of the court narrowed the obstruction statute, saying prosecutors must show a defendant “impaired the availability or integrity” of documents or other records related to an official proceeding. 

Of the 1,427 people charged so far in the Capitol attack, 350 were charged under the section of the law challenged, according to the Justice Department. And of those, 52 rioters were exclusively charged under the law, and more than half are serving federal prison sentences. 

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