Jan. 6 defendant appeals to Supreme Court in case that could upend hundreds of riot charges
The charge "is nothing less than the weaponization of the penal code to stifle dissent; it sets a terrifying precedent unworthy of this nation's history," Lang's attorneys wrote.
Jan. 6 defendant Edward Jacob Lang is asking the Supreme Court to hear his challenge against one of the 11 charges he was indicted on – obstruction of an official proceeding – in a case that could upend legal proceedings against hundreds of other defendants indicted on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.
The obstruction charge could be levied against "anyone who attends at a public demonstration gone awry," attorneys for Lang wrote in an appeal to the Supreme Court last week. The proceeding for which the charge was brought refers to the event where Congress certifies the Electoral College votes to confirm the president.
The charge "is nothing less than the weaponization of the penal code to stifle dissent; it sets a terrifying precedent unworthy of this nation's history," Lang's attorneys also wrote.
Lang had filed a motion to dismiss the obstruction charge, which carries a 20-year sentence, before his trial, and the D.C. District court granted this motion. However, an appeals court reversed the lower court's decision and a motion for a rehearing was denied.
Lang's attorney Norman Pattis told Newsweek that he thinks the Supreme Court could upend the cases of "hundreds of defendants."
"The government misuse and abuse of the federal penal code in the [January 6] cases is shocking," Pattis also said. His client expects to hear this fall whether the Supreme Court will take up the case.
Lang has been incarcerated for more than 900 days without a trial. He told The Epoch Times that he thinks his appeal could impact the Justice Department's separate effort to potentially charge former President Donald Trump with obstruction.
"I think the timing of this filing is astronomical," Lang said. "Donald Trump is the political frontrunner for the Republican Party, and while the other bogus charges might easily go away through a plea deal, the obstruction of Congress charge carries prison time. This one would land him in serious hot water with a conviction."