Little-known accusations on January 6 Investigators are looking for Donald Trump

As federal prosecutors increasingly use a confusing criminal charge to imprison January 6th Rebels, Congressional investigators appear to be building a case that could lead to similar charges against former President Donald Trump.

One-third of 700 people arrested by the Ministry of Justice for Attack on US Capitol building researchers at George Washington University’s Program on extremism. Those 240 insurgents have been charged with corruption by obstructing an official proceeding, an unprecedented ploy by prosecutors in an unprecedented similar event.

So far, 12 have been pleaded guiltyand three of them were sentenced. But if hundreds of people face prison because interrupt Congress while it is 2020 election results confirmed, what will happen to the president who ordered them to march there?

While the DOJ hunts down the rioters, the January 6 House Special Committee is separately gathering evidence to build a picture of how all of this comes together. And legal scholars say a strategy is taking shape – one to build a case to impeach the former president.

“The DOJ and committee are building a pyramid of sin to get to the top. Joshua E. Kastenberg, a professor at the University of New Mexico law school, says the more people confess, the top of the pyramid begins to form.

Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two GOP members on the congressional committee investigating the uprising, first drew attention to that possibility in a televised hearing last week. That’s when she addressed “another important question before this committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to impede or impede the process of counting the primary electorate votes?” of Congress?”

In Monday, New York Times pushed that idea further when it was revealed that the House committee investigating the uprising was considering Introduce Trump to the Department of Justice.

A source close to the committee told The Daily Beast that Cheney is an experienced attorney, and that she was deliberate when taking the question that night.

“It’s not a coincidence that she chose to use that language,” the source said.

David Schultz, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, said congressional investigators may be building a case where Trump “assisted and abetted” rioters who disrupted the vote count. And Cheney’s statements, combined with the Justice Department’s strong use of this federal charge, hint at what might be up.

“We are seeing a pattern that establishes an obstruction of justice taking over the food chain,” he said.

Cheney knew that the committee could not indict anyone on its own. But its findings could certainly lead to Congress asking the Justice Department to pursue a lawsuit against the former president.

Trump representatives did not respond to an investigation on Tuesday, but the former president has repeatedly judged the committee’s work in the past to be illegal. Staff on the Jan. 6 bipartisan committee declined to comment on the subject. And the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia declined to talk about their ongoing cases.


Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021.

Anna Moneymaker

It may seem odd that federal law against witness tampering is used in this way, but the statute includes a provision that states that anyone “corrupts… obstructs, influences, or obstructs any due process.” official” or attempt to do so.

As uprisings made their way through federal courts in the District of Columbia, judges increasingly allowed prosecutors to use it.

Ronald Sandlin and Nathaniel DeGrave, alleged rioters arrested in Las Vegas, recently tried to stop the DOJ from using it against them. That effort was quickly cut short by US District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Trump appointee, when she launched it. an idea on December 10, noted how Sandlin recorded a live stream shortly before the attack in which he said, “freedom is paid for with blood” and “there will be violence.”

Friedrich ruled that it was appropriate for the coalitions to pursue these charges, because the alleged conduct of the dynamic duo — preparing with pistols, knives and walkie-talkies and storming the Capitol — “falled entering the boundary is clearly illegal.”

And it was supposed to be done with the intention of obstructing the parliamentary process, writes Friedrich.


Supporters of President Donald Trump storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021.


“This is really a new application of the law,” said Jonathan Lewis, a researcher at the GWU Extremism Program who has closely followed hundreds of cases of insurgency.

“We have seen a number of legal challenges for 18 USC 1512(c) (2) say that this is not a formal procedure. Or to say that this is a political operation that uses US code in an unwarranted way,” he told The Daily Beast.

Later, legal scholars admitted again, this is also the first time hundreds of people stormed the place of the National Assembly.

It works against Paul Hodgkins, a Florida man brought the Trump flag to the Senate floor and was slapped with eight months in prison. Two other people,”QAnon Shaman“Jacob Chansley and the Gym Owner Scott Fairlamb, sentenced to 41 months behind bars. Eight others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing next year.

“One of the defenses commonly used by January 6 defense attorneys is that their clients cannot knowingly obstruct the proceedings because they did not know it was a formal proceeding,” Lewis said. speak.

But that defense had an obvious weakness: the rioters were clearly there to “prevent theft“By preventing Congress from certifying 2020 election results.

“They are there to interfere in the process. They may not have been there to commit acts of violence or carry out an uprising. But they are absolutely there to do exactly what this statute is about,” Kastenberg told The Daily Beast.

The more defendants plead guilty to this charge, the more they regard it as the norm. And prosecutors have set this pattern before.

“This is how you prosecute the mob. You don’t start from scratch,” says Vermont Law School professor Jared Carter.

However, going after Trump himself is another matter.

For the charge to work, prosecutors will have to find, legal scholars say, that Trump has rejected pleas from his advisers that he intervene and divert crowds — because he has clear intention for the attack to happen. Or he prevented the National Guard or federal law enforcement from coming to the rescue.

Rachel E. VanLandingham, a professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, who spent many years as a lawyer in the military, said this may have been what Cheney meant by “inaction.”

VanLandingham said: “It would be really difficult to criminally hold the president accountable for obstruction of justice, especially when he has complete discretion as president in the use of force. military force in the country”, VanLandingham noted that “criminal law does not give bad judgment calls. “

As for Trump’s speech to protesters, where he told them to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell,” VanLandingham said it wasn’t enough.

“This is very tied to political speech. One could make an astonishing argument that President Trump is inciting lawlessness. And there is a strong argument that he is aiding and abetting the obstruction of the proceedings. But that must be weighed against the core constitutional value that animates the First Amendment: the ability to engage in fiery, violent rhetoric. And the balance has to be in favor of defending that speech,” she said. Little-known accusations on January 6 Investigators are looking for Donald Trump

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