Joshua James attorneys argue for more government disclosure on Capitol attack charges

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Marshall County man charged in the January 6 U.S. Capitol attack was one of several defendants in court today in Washington, D.C. for a hearing.

Joshua James, of Arab, faces multiple counts in connection with the attack on the Capitol on the day the U.S. Congress formally certifying the Electoral College votes for the 2020 Presidential Election.

James is charged with conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, assaulting or resisting officers and tampering with documents or proceedings.

In a hearing before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, a number of issues were raised, including a lengthy discussion on whether the obstruction of an official proceeding charge – under the listed federal statute – applies to the attack on the Capitol. Defense attorneys argued the statute dealt with corruption — such as bribery and destruction of evidence. They contend that it didn’t apply to the conduct charged by federal prosecutors.

Federal prosecutors argued the attack on the Capitol was a corrupt act aimed at impeding the vote certification.

James’ attorney, Joni Robin, argued on a motion previously filed that argued for dismissal of the assault charge and the tampering with documents charge. James, who’s been subject to pre-trial home detention, was granted permission by the court to attend the hearing in Washington, D.C.

Robin argued the government should provide the name of the officer, or officers, who James is alleged to have assaulted. She argued the indictment alleges he yanked and pushed several officers, but the government has declined to identify any officers.

The government prosecutors argued they provided related body camera video that contains officers’ names and identified the area in the Capitol where the alleged incident occurred.

The judge asked how many officers were in the area, and the government said there were several. But they said in the immediate area around James, there were probably three.

James’ attorney said there is no reason not to identify the officer who was allegedly assaulted.

She also argued that prosecutors should provide information concerning the tampering with proceedings charge James faces. The allegation is that he destroyed Signal messages on January 8 and advised another person to do so. The defense says if the charge is related to interfering with a grand jury that later investigated the Capitol attack, then they need to know when the grand jury met.

The judge questioned why that was necessary and the defense said the information will help shape their arguments in the case.  Prosecutors argued they don’t need to provide a particular date, only to show that James’ actions interfered with the grand jury’s efforts to investigate.

No rulings were issued Wednesday.

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