A federal judge on June 7 agreed to dismiss a charge against a defendant in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, threw out the charge that Edward Jacob Lang, the defendant, obstructed an official proceeding before Congress.
The charge carries up to 20 years in prison.
“I’m ecstatic,” Steven Metcalf, a lawyer for Lang, told The Epoch Times.
The law prohibits interfering with an official proceeding through intimidation against a person or other means.
Lang was charged with the portion that states a person is committing a crime if they “otherwise obstruct, influence, or impede any official proceeding, or attempts to do so.”
But Lang entered the Capitol while Congress was counting electoral votes, which was not an official proceeding, Metcalf argued. He also said Lang did not take actions that constitute obstruction.
Metcalf cited a memorandum penned by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2018 explaining that obstruction laws don’t “criminalize just any act that can influence a ‘proceeding,’” but are aimed at “a range of ‘bad acts’—such as tampering with a witness or juror; or destroying, altering, or falsifying evidence—all of which are inherently wrongful because, by their very nature, they are directed at depriving the proceeding of honest decision-makers or access to full and accurate evidence.”
Nichols agreed. He ordered count nine dismissed without prejudice.
Nichols did not pen an order, but cited opinions he previously issued that dismissed the same count against other Jan. 6 defendants.