Latest developments in the prosecution of January 6 defendants

DM

Prosecutors in the cases against the January 6 demonstrators are starting to run into some judicial pushback: Questions about exculpatory evidence in their possession not turned over as the law demands, lower courts assessing the defendant as more dangerous than the evidence warranted, and most significantly, whether the prosecution is overcharging defendants with the federal crime of obstruction. Most of the defendants are charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted area — a fancy way of saying trespassing. Defendants are entitled to see before pleading to the charges any materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession. Defense counsel have complained that the government has not been meeting this obligation, and the prosecution has been responding that it is unable to quickly assess all the evidence it has to meet this burden. As to those charged with trespassing, some are claiming they were invited in and, therefore, could not be guilty of the charges. The prosecution got one extension and the question is whether they should get another, a question complicated by the defendants’ right to a speedy trial.

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