A federal judge has ruled against a notable attempt to throw out the felony charge that's the backbone of January 6 criminal prosecutions, bolstering the government's case against 17 Oath Keeper defendants accused of conspiring to overtake the US Capitol. "The court is persuaded by none of their contentions," Judge Amit Mehta wrote in his Monday opinion of the Oath Keeper defendants' arguments to dismiss their felony obstruction of a congressional proceeding charge.
Mehta decided that the January 6 rioters' alleged actions could be charged under the law protecting official proceedings of Congress and characterized as obstruction akin to witness tampering. "If the government can carry its burden of proof at trial, a conviction of Defendants premised on such activities would not violate the First Amendment," the judge wrote. His ruling means the case moves ahead to trial. Defendants in January 6 cases have tried to argue they weren't obstructing Congress under the law, and that the electoral vote certification couldn't be called an official proceeding, among other things.