‘Unique stew in his mind’ gets Jan 6 defendant acquitted of obstruction

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A Jan. 6 defendant was acquitted of attempting to obstruct an official proceeding after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that the “unique stew in his mind” made it clear he didn’t understand that Congress was still in session that fateful day.

Joshua Black entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with a knife, but, in his mind, God had called him to the Capitol, where he was to “plead the blood of Jesus.”

According to at least some of the evidence, Black likely believed that, by the time he entered the Capitol, the certification of the election had already occurred.

While he was convicted of entering restricted Capitol grounds with a deadly weapon and disorderly/disruptive conduct in the Capitol with a dangerous weapon, prosecutors presented no evidence that he knew he was committing an unlawful act or that he intended to put a stop to a Congressional session he didn’t know was even taking place, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney.

 

“Jackson emphasized that Black had both religious and political reasons for his presence in Washington on Jan. 6 — a mixed motive that she said was rooted both in his claim to have ‘the Lord’s imprimatur’ and his steady diet of social media disinformation about the election results,” Cheney writes.

Which begs the question: If Black was cooking such a confused “stew” in his mind on January 6, was he truly competent to stand trial two years later?

The question goes unanswered, but Cheney does note that “Black is the first Jan. 6 defendant who reached the Senate floor to be acquitted of the obstruction charge” and, during the bench trial, Jackson said that any evidence that he intended to stop Congress from doing their job was “absent from the government’s case.”

Had he been convicted of “obstruction of an official proceeding,” Black would have faced up to 20 years in prison. But because the government failed to prove he had “corrupt” intent, the case could not be made.

After determining that Black’s “hunting knife” was indeed a “deadly or dangerous weapon,” he is now looking at a felony conviction that carries with it a maximum 10-year sentence.

But, again, given Black’s mental “stew,” one could question if he fully understood the difference between a tool and a weapon.

Black contended that it was a tool, but when he told FBI investigators that he carried it instead of a gun to comply with Washington, D.C. gun laws and that he wanted it with him for self-defense, it crossed the legal line into “deadly weapon” territory.

Following the events of Jan. 6, Black was quickly identified after the Department of Justice posted a picture of him online.

“Once we found out [Mike Pence] turned on us and that they had stolen the election like officially, the crowd went crazy. I mean, it became a mob. We crossed the gate,” Black said in a video that was posted on Jan. 8. “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,” he added. “That was my goal.”

Republished with permission from American Wire News Service

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Melissa Fine
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