The United States Supreme Court is considering taking up a case of a Jan. 6 defendant who is challenging their charges as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
A man facing multiple criminal charges for his actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in July.
He called on the SCOTUS to intervene with respect to one particular count that he asserts is unwarranted.
He argues that the charge is a potential violation of the constitutional rights of himself and others who are similarly situated.
It is not guaranteed that the Supreme Court will actually take up the case or rule in the petitioner’s favor.
However, his initial petition was accepted and will reportedly be considered at an upcoming conference among the justices.
According to the Justice Department, Edward Jacob Lang was arrested and indicted in the first few weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.
He was initially charged with more than a dozen counts of various felonies and misdemeanors and has been held in pre-trial detention ever since.
The Washington Examiner reported in July that Lang filed a petition with the Supreme Court to request that one of those charges in particular that are related to obstruction of justice be dismissed as the statute has been interpreted overbroadly by the DOJ and could be applied toward “anyone who attends a public demonstration gone awry.”
That particular statute is 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2), which was originally crafted to go after white-collar criminals who’ve “corruptly” tampered with or destroyed evidence of financial crimes, or “otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding,” but is now being used against hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants like Lang, and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The charge was actually previously dismissed by a district court judge but was later reinstated by a split circuit court panel, which has resulted in the appeal filed with the Supreme Court.
In a recent phone interview with Real America’s Voice, host Grant Stinchfield said to the detained Lang:
“You’ve gotta be on pins and needles awaiting to hear whether or not the Supreme Court will take this case up.”
Lang replied that the “whole entire Jan. 6 community, we’re all riding on this, I mean, this is what we’re counting on — that they take this case and they do the right thing,” otherwise it will signal other prosecutors to continue with the “weaponization of our law code” and the “persecution” of President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Stinchfield noted that this unprecedented use of the particular obstruction statute has been applied to more than 300 Jan. 6 defendants and that they would all be “vindicated” to an extent if the Supreme Court did decide to toss out the charge for Lang and the others.
Waiting on Pins and Needles
Exactly 317 J6 defendants were charged with obstruction of an official proceeding. One of the key figures in that case, @JakeLangJ6, said his trial is still not set, but the U.S. Supreme Court will hear portions of his case before the regular trial… pic.twitter.com/rBXqmUthrm
— Real America’s Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) November 22, 2023
Lang’s petition, filed in July, asks the Supreme Court to consider:
“Whether the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that application of 18 U.S.C. Section 1512(c)(2), a statute crafted to prevent tampering with evidence in ‘official proceedings,’ can be used to prosecute acts of violence against police officers in the context of a public demonstration that turned into a riot.”
Notably, Lang does not dispute that he acted violently toward police officers.
Rather, he plans to argue his actions were in self-defense during his trial.
However, he does dispute the applicability of the particular statute that carries a far more severe penalty than any of the other charges he faces for things like assault, disorderly conduct, and trespassing, among other things.
“Without action from this Court, hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans will face substantial prison sentences for doing no more than speaking out at a protest that evolved into a dynamic conflict,” the petition argued.
“It is no overstatement to say the future of the First Amendment hangs in the balance.
“A statute intended to combat financial fraud has been transformed into a blatant political instrument to crush dissent.”
According to the Supreme Court’s docket for the case of Lang v. United States, the petition was accepted in July and, following the subsequent receipt of related motions and briefs, was scheduled for a conference meeting on Dec. 1, at which point the justices will decide whether or not to take up the case.