Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to tighten the pretrial release conditions on former North Cornwall Township cop Joseph Fischer, who faces an array of criminal charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Fischer has been free on court-approved pretrial release, under the supervision of the federal Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, since shortly after his arrest in February 2021.

On March 19, federal prosecutors filed an “Unopposed Motion to Modify Conditions of Release,” alleging that Fischer “last month” contacted an unidentified “local public official” via social media and said “By the way … Go F**k yourself. If you believed one word from your FBI buddy, then you’re really stupid. When I win, your name will be one of the first on my lips. You’re already in my book.”

The motion asks the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to modify Fischer’s release conditions by ordering him to “refrain from contacting this official by any means, including social media.” 

Fischer had not filed a response to the motion as of Friday, April 12, consistent with the prosecutor’s assertion that Fischer does not oppose the additional release condition.

Fischer’s federal public defender, Eugene Ohm, and the prosecutor filing the motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb, both declined to comment on the motion or why Fischer isn’t opposing it.

By not opposing the motion, Fischer is neither admitting nor denying its allegations. Instead, he is telling the court that he is not insisting that prosecutors present proof, that he will not present evidence to the contrary, and that he does not oppose adding the “no contact” release condition.

Fischer’s case is assigned to D.C. District Court Judge Carl Nichols. As of publication time, a court order granting the unopposed motion had not been entered, according to court records. Unopposed motions are rarely denied, but they can be if the judge decides that the requested action is not in the interests of justice.

Prosecutors allege that Fischer was part of the violent mob that broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Fischer was a North Cornwall cop at the time, and subsequently resigned from the force.

Fischer faces seven criminal charges for his alleged participation in the violent attempt to obstruct Congress, and he has pleaded not guilty to all.

U.S. Supreme Court about to hear Fischer’s appeal of one of the Jan. 6 charges filed against him

One of the seven charges against Fischer has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and attorneys will make oral arguments to the nation’s highest court on Tuesday, April 16.

The questioned criminal charge, enacted in 2002 after the collapse of energy giant Enron, made it an offense to obstruct an official proceeding. In Enron’s case, the obstruction consisted of destroying business records in an attempt to hamper a government fraud investigation.

Jan. 6 prosecutors want to apply the law to supporters of former President Donald Trump who invaded the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from meeting to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Fischer’s attorneys argue that prosecutors are interpreting that law too broadly by seeking to apply it to the Capitol rioters.

The same charge has been filed against over 300 Jan. 6 rioters, and the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to impact those cases, too.

The Supreme Court is not expected to decide Fischer’s appeal before late 2024. Fischer’s trial is on hold pending the high court’s decision on that charge.

Even if the Supreme Court throws out the challenged charge, Fischer will still face trial on the remaining six charges against him.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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