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Law & Order Discuss Capitol riot suspect’s court hearing turns to potential criminal charge for Trump at the Political Forums; Capitol riot suspect’s court hearing turns to potential criminal charge for Trump The judge and both sides in the case ...

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Old 11-23-2021, 05:29 PM
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Default Capitol riot suspect’s court hearing turns to potential criminal charge for Trump

Capitol riot suspect’s court hearing turns to potential criminal charge for Trump

The judge and both sides in the case found themselves debating the scope of a law being wielded against many Jan. 6 defendants that makes it a felony to “corruptly” interfere with an official federal government proceeding and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The statute is typically applied to court-related conduct, like threatening judges, jurors or witnesses. However, prosecutors have leveled the obstruction charge against about a third of the roughly 700 Jan. 6 defendants over their alleged efforts to disrupt the electoral vote tally that Congress was undertaking when a crowd loyal to Trump broke through police lines and forced their way into the Capitol.
At a hearing on Monday for defendant Garret Miller of Richardson, Texas, Nichols made the first move toward a Trump analogy by asking a prosecutor whether the obstruction statute could have been violated by someone who simply “called Vice President Pence to seek to have him adjudge the certification in a particular way.” The judge also asked the prosecutor to assume the person trying to persuade Pence had the “appropriate mens rea,” or guilty mind, to be responsible for a crime.
Nichols made no specific mention of Trump, who appointed him to the bench, but the then-president was publicly and privately pressuring Pence in the days before the fateful Jan. 6 tally to decline to certify Joe Biden’s victory. Trump also enlisted other allies, including attorney John Eastman, to lean on Pence.
“I don’t see how that gets you that,” Pearce [An attorney with the Justice Department Criminal Division] told the judge.

However, Pearce quickly added that it might well be a crime if the person reaching out to Pence knew the vice president had an obligation under the Constitution to recognize the result.

“If that person does that knowing it is not an available argument [and is] asking the vice president to do something the individual knows is wrongful … one of the definitions of ‘corruptly’ is trying to get someone to violate a legal duty,” Pearce said.
While the judge and the prosecutor managed to discuss the subject without mentioning Trump explicitly, the defense attorney was more blunt.

“That troubles me if that’s really the government’s position, that if former President Trump tried to convince Vice President Pence not to certify the election, if there’s evidence that he didn’t really believe Vice President Pence had that power,” that could be a violation of the obstruction law, Broden said. “That seems like the rabbit trail we’re going to go down under the government’s reading of the statute.”

Trump has maintained publicly that he believed and still believes that Pence had the power to refuse to recognize the electoral votes submitted by state officials and could have refused to do so, potentially throwing the presidential election into the House of Representatives to be decided.
Internal Justice Department emails released last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request brought by BuzzFeed showed officials trying to address that delicate issue in the hours and days immediately after Jan. 6.

“We're looking at all actors here, and anyone that had a role, and if the evidence fits the elements of a crime, they're going to be charged,” acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters on a conference call the day after the riot.

Despite that pledge, there have been no outward signs over the past 10 months that the Justice Department is actively investigating Trump or the people closest to him over their activities in the lead-up to or during the riot. Sherwin left the department in March, following criticism from judges about some of his comments to the media.
A lot more at site.

Well for once the best defense would be stupidity.
“Hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it’s stored and destroys the vessels on which it’s poured.”
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