Donald Trump could be in for a ‘huge windfall’ after the Supreme Court narrowed charges against January 6 rioters

    Former President Donald Trump after a rally in New Hampshire.

    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    The Supreme Court ruled Friday that a statute used against the January 6 attackers was applied too broadly.It was great news for Trump, legal experts told BI.The DOJ noted the decision would most impact “a narrow band” of January 6 cases.

    The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the obstruction statute used to prosecute the January 6, 2021, defendants was employed too broadly by the Department of Justice.

    The obstruction charge doesn’t apply to anyone who breached the Capital, SCOTUS said.

    Rather, to meet obstruction, “the Government must establish that the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects…or other things used in the proceeding,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s decision.

    Legal experts told Business Insider the decision was great news for Trump and could result in resentencing for certain January 6 defendants.

    But it’s far from a sweeping victory. That’s because Trump and the majority of the January 6, 2021, attackers were charged with more than just obstruction.

    The Department of Justice noted in response to the SCOTUS ruling that it would “most significantly impact a narrow band of cases.”

    Of the 1,427 people charged in the Capitol attack, the DOJ said 52 were convicted on just the obstruction charge in question — 27 of whom are currently incarcerated, the DOJ said.

    ‘A huge windfall for Donald Trump’

    The SCOTUS decision “may be a huge windfall for Donald Trump,” Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson told Business Insider. But the case against him “has not disappeared,” given his other charges.

    As for other January 6 defendants, “we are in store for resentencings” — though not necessarily retrials, she said. Given that most defendants were charged with multiple offenses, “the government might just take what they already have.”

    Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani concurred the SCOTUS ruling “is great news for Trump.”

    “Smith will likely dismiss the obstruction of an official proceeding charges against Trump to avoid the possibility of dismissal and guaranteed delays in the case,” Rahmani told BI in an email. “Litigating the obstruction of a proceeding issue unnecessarily is high risk with little reward.”

    Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor who said he represented the first Oath Keeper to breach the Capital, told BI that the ruling is “not a total victory or defeat for either side — but I’d rather be on the defendant’s side than the government’s.”

    ‘There’s a lot of fuel behind that conservative fire right now’

    Another legal expert told BI the SCOTUS ruling actually benefits the prosecution against Trump, and argued the indictment will hold up.

    That’s because Trump’s fake elector scheme involved submitting fraudulent documents to Congress to stop the certification of the election, New York attorney Richard Hermer-Fried said.

    “Trump’s actions to stop the certification of the election goes beyond provoking a mob of his supporters to force their way into the Capitol threatening political violence, and, in fact, is a complex scheme involving the manipulation of documents,” Hermer-Fried told BI in an email.

    On Monday, the Supreme Court will rule on its most consequential January 6 decision: whether Trump, as president, is immune from prosecution.

    Given today’s fortuitous decision, legal experts surmised the court could rule in his favor.

    “The court says it’s not playing politics, but the politics are that these decisions are helping Donald Trump,” Levenson said. “So I don’t think that the court will hesitate to reach a ruling on Monday that helps Donald Trump.”

    While conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett dissented from today’s decision, Syracuse law professor William Banks told Business Insider that the decision shows “the conservative majority is lining up.”

    Chevron and other SCOTUS decisions coming down this week “suggests there’s a lot of fuel behind that conservative fire right now,” Banks said.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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