The US Supreme Court has ruled that hundreds of people have been improperly charged in connection with the assault on Congress

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that federal authorities cannot charge protesters who took part in the January 6, 2021, attack on Congress with obstruction of official proceedings. More than 350 people have been charged with the crime, since the attack was, among other things, an attempt to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election results and the subsequent inauguration of Joe Biden as president.

Former US President Donald Trump is also accused of obstructing official proceedings in connection with the events of January 6, in a trial that began in 2023 and has since been put on hold pending a decision on whether to recognize Trump’s immunity, another case being considered by the Supreme Court. It will have to express its opinion in the coming days. It is unclear how today’s ruling will affect the outcome of those proceedings.

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The crime of obstruction of official proceedings was introduced in 2002 after a financial scandal, and refers to situations in which defendants attempt to tamper with or destroy documents that could be used as evidence during a trial. According to the Supreme Court justices, not all people who participated in the assault find themselves in this situation and were therefore incorrectly accused.

Almost at the moment 170 The people accused of obstruction of justice have already been convicted, but their sentences must now be reviewed. who are they, 52 People were convicted exclusively of obstruction, and 27 people are in prison. They constitute a relatively small portion of the total number of people convicted of crimes related to the events of January 6, and they are almost all 1,430Many of them are accused of multiple crimes, including assaulting a public servant or assaulting private property.

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The case heard by the Supreme Court was brought by Joseph Fisher, a former Pennsylvania police officer who participated in the assault and was charged with several crimes, including obstruction of official proceedings. His lawyers said the accusation was illegal, and the case went to the Supreme Court. The court announced its intention to consider it last December: since then, many trials related to this accusation have been postponed or suspended, and many people already convicted have been able to stand trial. benefit Concerning the suspension or reduction of sentences.

On January 6, 2021, hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., clashing with police, overcoming blockades and occupying the building, and armed their way into the chambers where the House and Senate meet. Inside Congress were lawmakers, meeting to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, and the session was suspended until—after three hours—the rioters were removed. The demonstration was called by Trump, who has never accepted defeat in the 2020 election and continues to assert to this day, without any evidence, that the result was rigged.

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