Supreme Court rules DOJ overstepped authority on hundreds of Jan. 6 charges

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Supreme Court Justices decided 6-3 to throw out a lower court’s ruling that allowed a broad interpretation of an Enron-era statute to charge hundreds of defendants in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the charge of obstructing an official proceeding must include proof the defendants tried to tamper with or destroy documents.

David Moerschel, a Punta Gorda resident, was at Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 as part of the Oath Keepers and was arrested for his involvement with the riot.

This ruling overturns two of his counts.

Hundreds of defendants in this case will be impacted by this decision, which narrows how this statute could be applied.

In a stacked formation, Moerschel marched with other Oath Keepers up the east steps of the Capitol, where they then joined a mob and made their way inside.

Moerschel was also seen stashing weapons ahead of the riot in his hotel room.

He was charged with seditious conspiracy, a lesser counterpart to treason, along with unlawful entry and obstruction.

“We always recognized the application of this statute was government overreach and applied overboard in these cases,” said Moerschel’s attorney, Scott Weinberg.

Weinberg explained that there are different types of obstruction and people were charged with ones that did not apply.

“If the Supreme Court held, if they want to charge you with this statute, it needs to have something to do with documents or changing evidence, not necessarily just obstructing an official proceeding.”

Only some of the people who violently attacked the Capitol fall into that category.

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