Joseph Fischer, the suspended North Cornwall Township police officer facing federal criminal charges resulting from the violent Jan. 6 invasion of the United States Capitol, has been granted additional freedom to travel while he awaits trial.

On Jun. 17, District of Columbia Judge Carl Nichols granted Fischer’s request to be allowed to travel to Maryland and to the federal court system’s Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In releasing Fischer from jail while he awaits trial, the court had originally restricted his travel to the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which includes Lebanon County.

Fischer, whose next scheduled court appearance is Aug. 19, is still forbidden from traveling to the District of Columbia except for reasons related to the charges against him.

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The Capitol was invaded on Jan. 6 by supporters of former president Donald Trump who were trying to stop the United States Senate from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the November 3, 2020 presidential election. Over 500 people have been charged.

In the Criminal Complaint filed against Fischer, the U.S. Attorney alleges that “[o]n January 7, 2021, Fischer posted a 2 minute and 43 second video on Facebook which showed the recorder of the video walking amongst crowds of people towards an entrance to a building, eventually entering the building. The video was accompanied with the text ‘Made it inside … received pepper balls and pepper sprayed. Police line was 4 deep.. I made it to level two…’”

Related documents filed with the court by the federal prosecutor contain photos alleged to be of Fischer inside and outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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Fischer, who had served on the North Cornwall police force since 2002, has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of his charges.

He has pled not guilty and is represented by Federal Public Defenders in Harrisburg and Washington.

North Cornwall Township also accepted the resignation of Police Chief John Leahy after it suspended him pending the outcome of its investigation “into the events surrounding Officer Fischer’s actions on January 6, 2021 and afterwards.”


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