Federal Judge Dismisses Felony Obstruction Charge in Second Jan. 6 Case in Eight Days

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For the second time in eight days, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols has dismissed a felony obstruction charge alleging a Jan. 6 defendant tried to prevent the certification of Electoral College votes in the 2020 presidential race.

Nichols ruled in the case of USA v. Joseph W. Fischer that the statute used by prosecutors—18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2)—does not apply to the allegations against the defendant.

The 1512 subsection of the U.S. Code is meant to prevent tampering or destruction of documents and records, not alleged attempts to derail certification of the presidential election results, Nichols said.

“Nothing in Count Three (or the superseding indictment generally) alleges, let alone implies, that Fischer took some action with respect to a document, record, or other object in order to corruptly obstruct, impede or influence Congress’s certification of the electoral vote,” Nichols wrote in a 10-page ruling. “The Court will therefore grant Fischer’s motion to dismiss Count Three.”

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