“The court is persuaded by none of their contentions,” Judge Amit Mehta wrote in his Monday opinion of the Oath Keeper defendants’ arguments to dismiss their felony obstruction of a congressional continuing charge.
Mehta determined that the January 6 rioters’ alleged actions could possibly be charged underneath the legislation defending official proceedings of Congress and characterised as obstruction akin to witness tampering. “If the government can carry its burden of proof at trial, a conviction of Defendants premised on such activities would not violate the First Amendment,” the choose wrote.
His ruling means the case strikes forward to trial.
Defendants in January 6 circumstances have tried to argue they weren’t obstructing Congress underneath the legislation, and that the electoral vote certification could not be known as an official continuing, amongst different issues.
Mehta is now the third choose in the DC District Court to permit Justice Department prosecutors to proceed towards trial with their circumstances in opposition to extra important January 6 riot defendants.
If judges start to break up on the difficulty, lots of of circumstances could possibly be briefly despatched into chaos as appeals play out. But that has not occurred but, and Mehta’s ruling in the Oath Keepers’ case — the biggest conspiracy obstruction case in the sprawling riot investigation — is probably going to be influential in the courthouse, although appeals are nonetheless doable.
Members of the Oath Keepers are among the many right-wing extremists alleged to have performed a serious function in the January 6 assault, with some seen weaving via the gang in army formation and coming into the Capitol Rotunda.