The DOJ just lost in a felony obstruction charge against a January 6th protester, it’s first loss on that charge so far.
The acquitted protester was Joshua Black, a 46-year-old Alabama man who entered the Capitol after he was shot in the face by a less lethal police projectile on that day. He later recorded a video about entering the Capitol, saying “I had accomplished my goal. I pled the blood of Jesus on the Senate floor. You know, I praised the name of Jesus on the Senate floor. That was my goal. I think that was God’s goal.”
He also said, in a YouTube video about why he entered the Capitol building, “Once we found out Pence turned on us and they had stolen the election, like officially, the crowd went crazy. I mean, it became a mob. We crossed the gate…We just wanted to get inside the building. I wanted to get inside the building so I could plead the blood of Jesus over it. That was my goal.”
Adding to that, he said “I just felt like the spirit of God wanted me to go in the Senate room, you know. So I was about to break the glass and I thought, no, this is our house, we don’t act like that. I was tempted to, I’m not gonna lie. ‘Cause I’m pretty upset. You know? They stole my country.”
He was acquitted on the obstruction charge because prosecutors could not, in the view of the judge in the case, prove the requisite mental state. Fox News Digital, reporting on that, noted:
Following a week-long bench trial, Black was ultimately found not guilty of the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding – a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, Politico reported. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Black had a “unique stew in his mind,” making it difficult to determine whether he knew he was breaking the law.
The judge said prosecutors failed to prove Black’s intent was to disrupt Congress – or even whether Black was familiar with the congressional proceedings occurring that day to certify Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump. Jackson argued that some evidence even suggested Black thought the election certification ended by the time he reached the Capitol.
Black was, however, found guilty on the charge of carrying a weapon in the Capitol. That “weapon” was a small pocket-knife he kept on him for work, as he said in a YouTube video, saying “I wasn’t planning on pulling it. I just carry a knife because I do. I work outside, and you need knives, you know. I just, you’re not allowed to carry guns in DC, and I don’t like being defenseless.”
The DOJ, in a press release on the charges Black was found guilty on, said:
An Alabama man was found guilty yesterday of felony and misdemeanor charges for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Joshua Matthew Black, 46, of Leeds, Alabama, was found guilty after a trial in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds or buildings; entering and remaining on the floor of Congress; and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
[…]The charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years. The charge of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds or buildings carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years. The charges of entering and remaining on the floor of Congress and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building carry up to six months. All charges carry potential financial penalties. The Court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Featured image credit: federal court documents
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