Mar 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge dismisses Capitol riot obstruction charge

Trump supporters stand on a U.S. Capitol Police armored vehicle as others take over the steps of the Capitol

A scene from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

A federal judge dismissed an obstruction charge against a man accused of storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, opting for a more narrow reading of federal obstruction law.

Why it matters: The decision could affect hundreds of other Jan. 6 defendants facing a similar charge of obstruction.

  • The charge of "Obstruction of an Official Proceeding" appears 176 times in the Department of Justice's list of Capitol Breach Cases.

Between the lines: D.C. District Judge Carl Nichols said in a 16-page opinion, published on Monday, that ambiguities in the wording of the law require him to take a narrow reading of the law.

  • Based on this reading of the law, Nichols said the conduct of the defendant, Garret Miller, falls outside the scope of the law.
  • However, Miller faces a number of other felony charges related to the Jan. 6 riot, according to Politico.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that Garret Miller (not Carl Nichols) faces a number of felony charges related to the Jan. 6 riot.

Go deeper