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Federal Judge Tosses Out First Amendment Claims in J6 Trial

The following article, Federal Judge Tosses Out First Amendment Claims in J6 Trial, was first published on Flag And Cross.

With hundreds of defendants already facing charges stemming from the attempted insurrection of January 6th, (and possibly hundreds more yet to be identified and arrested by the FBI), there are going to be no shortage of angles of litigious attack explored over the course of the next year or more.

One such avenue of legalese that had been making the rounds suggested that the events of that day, namely the gathering, was protected by the First Amendment.  This was a protest, first and foremost, and then became something else later in the day.

Now a federal judge has essentially neutered that suggestion, in a ruling that could affect several cases yet to come.

A federal judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss a sprawling criminal indictment charging four accused leaders of the far-right extremist Proud Boys with conspiring to attack the US Capitol on January 6.

Defense attorneys representing the four men previously argued that the conduct of their clients, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe, was protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.

But Judge Timothy Kelly rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss the charges against them in a Tuesday filing reviewed by Insider, arguing they could have used several other, non-violent means of expressing their thoughts about the 2020 election.

His language seemed inescapable.

“No matter defendants’ political motivations or any political message they wished to express, this alleged conduct is simply not protected by the First Amendment,” wrote Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump. “Defendants are not, as they argue, charged with anything like burning flags, wearing black armbands, or participating in mere sit-ins or protests.”

Kelly would go on to cite a previous ruling in which it was determined that First Amendment-protected actions lose their constitutional protections once they turn violent.

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