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Judge to Proud Boys: No, Capitol Storm Violence Wasn’t a First Amendment Exercise

A federal judge did not buy the First Amendment argument that the Proud Boys were filming in an attempt to evade criminal punishment for allegedly participating in the attack on the United States Capitol. United States District Judge Timothy Kelly on Tuesday declined to bring charges against four members of the far-right group—Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe-who were indicted in March for riot-related offences, including conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. (All pleaded not guilty.) The four men’s attorneys sought to dismiss the charge by arguing that the conduct they allegedly engaged in was protected by First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. essay. But Kelly, a former presidential appointee Donald Trump, argue that’s not how that protection works.

“It is clear that there are many ways for Defendants to express their opinions on the 2020 presidential election, or their views on how Congress should carry out its constitutional duties on January 6. , without the conduct for which they were charged,” Kelly, wrote on Tuesday Comments are 43 pages long. Such conduct includes trespassing, destroying property and interfering with law enforcement, each Bloomberg. “As they argue, the defendants were not charged with anything like burning flags, wearing black armbands, or merely participating in protests or sitting still,” Kelly wrote. “Furthermore, even if the alleged conduct had some expressive aspects, it has lost any First Amendment protection it might have.”

The four Proud Boys leaders are not the only riot defendants the US government has charged with obstructing a formal proceeding. Prosecutors have relied on statute — which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years — to charge hundreds of people involved in January 6 riots, many of which have challenged its legitimacy in court, follow to CNN. Kelly on Tuesday became the fourth judge of the DC District Court allow prosecutors used the law to take a stance, writing that “the Court is not convinced” by the defendants’ claim that congressional certification of the Electoral College vote was not a “principal proceeding.” awake.” The Proud Boys case is one of the most serious conspiracy cases against the Capitol riot defendants, and Kelly sided with the Department of Justice in providing “motivation to prosecutors as they prepare for the wave of riots.” The first of riot-related trials in the US Capitol began in February,” CNN notes.

The government’s victory comes a week after two members of a different right-wing group, the Oath Keepers, tried and failed to get a Judge. Amit Mehta, also preside over in DC federal court, to bring charges of obstructing them in another significant case on January 6. In that case, the defendants also unsuccessful argued that congressional certification of election results was not an “official procedure” and that their alleged activities protected free speech.

When prosecutors won support for the use of obstruction charges against the defendants January 6, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) Yes improve prospects belong to Donald Trump he himself has to face possible obstruction fee depending on new evidence the panel finds. Cheney, vice chairman of the House committee investigating the uprising, referenced criminal statute earlier this month at a House panel hearing, where she pushed Mark Meadows, Trump’s last White House chief of staff was scorned for refusing to cooperate. (House ended up holding him in contempt. Meadows’ testimony, Cheney said, “will raise an important question before this Committee: whether Donald Trump, through action or inaction, has corruptly sought to impede or impede the official process of the National Assembly. Assembly to count the electoral votes?”

Meanwhile, the dashboard has been increased in recent days and potentially switch to other members of Trump’s inner circle such as Rudy Giuliani, to better understand Trump’s involvement in the uprising.

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https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/12/judge-to-proud-boys-no-violently-storming-the-capitol-isnt-a-first-amendment-exercise Judge to Proud Boys: No, Capitol Storm Violence Wasn’t a First Amendment Exercise

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