January 6th Defendant Released Early After Supreme Court Takes Case That Could Shorten Sentence

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A man who was sentenced to three years in prison for his actions during the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building has been released by a federal judge.

The release came after the Supreme Court considered a case that could have impacted his sentence and that of many others involved in the riot.

Kevin Seefried, a resident of Laurel, Delaware, was convicted of obstructing an official proceeding and received a felony conviction. Additionally, he was sentenced to 12 months and 6 months for misdemeanor charges.

The Department of Justice stated that Seefried and his son Hunter were among the first individuals to enter the Capitol during the insurrection on January 6th. They were captured on camera carrying a Confederate flag while inside.

Newsweek reports that an obstruction charge is at the forefront of the nation’s highest court.

The case, Fischer v. United States, challenges the Department of Justice’s use of the charge of “obstruction of an official proceeding” against individuals linked to the events of January 6. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to review this case, some defendants have requested release until a final ruling is made.

Judge Trevor McFadden recently ruled that Seefried could be released from prison while awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision. Court documents reveal that McFadden determined Seefried poses no flight risk or danger to his community.

Additionally, he noted that there are significant questions raised in the appeal which could potentially result in a reversal, a new trial, a noncustodial sentence, or a custodial sentence that would end before the appeal concludes.

The judge emphasized that these actions were not intended for delay and raised substantial issues worth considering.

He further observed that at least four Supreme Court justices have expressed interest in addressing the challenge to the DOJ’s use of obstruction charges. He suggested that if the court rules in Fischer’s favor, it is likely that Seefried’s similar actions would not be considered a violation of the obstruction law.
“In that case, Seefried will be left serving only his sentences for the four misdemeanor convictions. But, by the time his appeal has concluded, those custodial sentences will have likely concluded,” he wrote.

McFadden indicated that Seefried’s misdemeanor sentence would end by May 31, 2024, suggesting his release around that time as a one-year sentence should suffice.

Recently, the Supreme Court agreed to review former President Donald Trump’s case on presidential immunity. Oral arguments are set for April 25, with a decision expected by June.

Trump’s legal team will assert his immunity from prosecution in a case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Washington, D.C., regarding election interference allegations.

The criminal trial in Judge Tanya Chutkan’s court has been paused awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In requesting the review, Trump’s team argued in court documents that “if the prosecution of a President is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination.”

“Criminal prosecution, with its greater stigma and more severe penalties, imposes a far greater ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President than any civil penalty,” the request continues, according to Fox News. “The threat of future criminal prosecution by a politically opposed Administration will overshadow every future President’s official acts — especially the most politically controversial decisions.”

Trump’s request also says that the president’s “political opponents will seek to influence and control his or her decisions via effective extortion or blackmail with the threat, explicit or implicit, of indictment by a future, hostile Administration, for acts that do not warrant any such prosecution.”

ICYMI: President Trump Responds to Appeals Court’s Fifth Overruling of Judge Engoron

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