News Brief (April 17): Supreme Court Questions Charges Against Jan. 6 Defendants | AUDIO

Good morning, and welcome to The Epoch Times News Brief for Wednesday, April 17, 2024, and we’re almost there—halfway through the week. I’m Bill Thomas and now,
News Brief (April 17): Supreme Court Questions Charges Against Jan. 6 Defendants | AUDIO
Supporters of Jan. 6 defendants including Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, stand outside of the Supreme Court in Washington on April 16, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to The Epoch Times News Brief for Wednesday, April 17, 2024, and we’re almost there—halfway through the week. I’m Bill Thomas and now, from the Supreme Court to state legislatures, our coverage today spans key legal battles and pivotal legislative changes. A lot to get to, so let’s dive right into our first big story.

We’ll begin with the Supreme Court, where justices are reevaluating the charges against participants of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Here’s what’s going on.

Supreme Court Questions Charges Against Jan. 6 Defendants

Conservative justices on the Supreme Court seemed sympathetic toward Joseph Fischer, a former police officer who was charged for entering the U.S. Capitol for four minutes during the events of Jan. 6, 2021. This case is particularly significant because its outcome could impact other Jan. 6-related legal actions, including those against former President Donald Trump.

Mr. Fischer is facing multiple charges, most notably, this one: obstructing an official proceeding—a charge that carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

His defense team contends that he should not have been charged under this particular law, which typically relates to tampering with evidence in official proceedings.

Critics, including Mr. Fischer’s defense and some legal experts, have accused the Biden administration of inappropriately using this law to prosecute individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.

During oral arguments, Mr. Fischer’s lawyer argued that the statute was meant to prevent the destruction of evidence, not to punish broader forms of obstruction of proceedings. The U.S. solicitor general, however, defended the statute’s use as a general catch-all for obstruction. The justices raised concerns about how broadly this statute could be applied, including actions like pulling a fire alarm or protesting outside the Capitol.

The government argues that Mr. Fischer had the intent to disrupt Congress’s function and used violence to intimidate. On the other hand, Mr. Fischer’s attorneys deny that he engaged in any violent acts and assert that he was a victim.

This is a developing story, and we’ll keep you updated as the story continues to unfold.

Up next: a brand new legal development from Manhattan where President Trump faces potential contempt charges.

Manhattan DA Asks Judge to Hold Trump in Contempt of Court

Prosecutors in the “hush-money” case have filed court documents accusing President Trump of violating a gag order by commenting on potential witnesses in the case. This order specifically forbids President Trump from making public comments about witnesses like Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels.

The violation in question arose from a recent social media post by President Trump, in which he called Mr. Cohen and Ms. Daniels “sleazebags.” Prosecutors have responded by requesting the court fine President Trump $1,000 for each violation of the gag order. They also warned that if President Trump continues to disregard the order, he could face jail time.

The motion led to the scheduling of a court hearing on April 23 to address these allegations.

Previously, Judge Juan Merchan had expanded the scope of the gag order after President Trump criticized the judge’s daughter. President Trump’s lawyers have argued that the gag order infringes on his right to free speech. The trial, which deals with allegations that President Trump falsified company records, is anticipated to last about eight weeks, and the process of selecting a jury could take as long as two weeks.

Moving on now from courtroom battles, we turn our focus to Maine. This piece of news really got people talking on our website, with over 1,000 people chiming in.

Governor of Maine Allows National Popular Vote Legislation to Become Law

Janet Mills, the governor of Maine, has decided to let a bill become law that will give the state’s four electoral college votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes nationwide. Currently, Maine divides its electoral votes between the state’s overall winner and the winners in each congressional district.

This change aligns with the efforts of the “National Popular Vote” group. They are promoting the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact,” which seeks to ensure the presidency goes to the candidate with the most popular votes in the country. Critics believe this approach goes against the U.S. Constitution and could hurt smaller, rural states by lessening their influence. However, supporters say it would make every vote equal, no matter where the voter lives.

The governor agrees with this idea. Ms. Mills believes that the person with the most votes should win the presidency, and that the current system does not reflect true democratic principles.

By making this decision, Maine joins 15 other states and the District of Columbia in this compact. But for this agreement to be activated, it needs the support of states that together have at least 270 electoral votes, the number of votes needed to win the presidency.

The most liked comment said: “This Governor just removed voter representation from the people of her state? Am I understanding this correctly?”

What do you think? Share your comments with us at [email protected].
Staying on the topic of voting, let’s move west to California.

California Sues City to Remove Voter ID Requirement for Local Elections

Top California officials, including Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, have initiated a lawsuit against a new voter ID law in Huntington Beach. This local law, known as Measure A, was recently passed to require voter identification for local elections starting in 2026.

Mr. Bonta contends that this voter ID requirement undermines the basic right to vote. Ms. Weber argues that the measure not only violates state law but also disproportionately impacts vulnerable groups such as low-income individuals, the elderly, people of color, those with disabilities, and young voters.

In defense of the measure, Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates maintains that Measure A complies with California law and represents the desires of the local electorate. Mr. Gates also questions the timing of the lawsuit, pointing to Senate Bill 1174, proposed by state Sen. Dave Min, which seeks to prevent local governments from enforcing their own voter ID rules. He believes the lawsuit could undermine this legislative effort.

Despite the legal challenges, Measure A was supported by 53 percent of Huntington Beach voters. It gives the City Council the power to mandate voter IDs, set up voting locations, and oversee ballot drop boxes.

Let’s leave the beach and move on down to the Lone Star State. We’ll shift now from policy debates to a personal story of desperation and determination in Texas.

Texas Woman Reveals How She Snuck Ivermectin Into Hospital to Save Her Dying Father

A woman from Texas, Amy Williams, took a bold step to save her father’s life by smuggling small bags of ivermectin, a drug banned at the time, into the hospital inside a laptop. Her father’s condition had deteriorated significantly while in the hospital, and despite receiving standard treatments, he showed no improvement and even spoke of dying.

Motivated by stories of other COVID-19 patients who had seen positive outcomes from ivermectin, Ms. Williams researched the drug and became convinced of its safety and effectiveness. However, the challenge was getting the drug to her father due to strict hospital rules. Cleverly, Ms. Williams concealed the ivermectin inside her laptop’s keyboard compartment, and it was successfully delivered to her father’s room without the hospital staff’s knowledge.

After her father began taking ivermectin, Ms. Williams observed a remarkable improvement in his health.

The use of ivermectin during the pandemic sparked controversy, with debates about its effectiveness against COVID-19. Many pharmacists were hesitant to fill prescriptions for it, and hospitals generally prohibited its use. Dr. Mary Talley Bowden noted that Ms. Williams’s story was not an isolated incident; many people had to use similar methods to obtain the drug for their loved ones.

Despite recent legal actions and the FDA removing misleading directives about the drug, misinformation about ivermectin continues. Ms. Williams’s story highlights the lengths to which some people have gone, driven by their research and judgment in critical medical situations.

Ms. Williams said that she was prepared to face jail to save her father, but she was relieved it didn’t come to that.

Finally, we travel to Idaho, where new legislation is tackling an issue of international human rights concerning forced organ harvesting.

Idaho Enacts Law Aimed at Combating CCP’s Forced Organ Harvesting

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed a law aimed at ensuring Idaho residents do not inadvertently support China’s practice of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of consciencepeople imprisoned by the Chinese Communist Party for their faith and ideology.

Starting July 1, it will be illegal for health insurers in Idaho to cover organ transplants or related care if the procedures are performed in China or any other country involved in forced organ harvesting. Additionally, the new law prohibits Idaho’s medical and research facilities from using genetic sequencing equipment or software that comes from foreign adversaries, such as China.

This legislative move places Idaho alongside Texas, which was the first state to implement such a law in 2023, and Utah, where a similar law will take effect in two weeks.

The context behind this law centers on Chinese hospitals, which have become destinations for medical tourists seeking organ transplants. These facilities often have much shorter waiting times, a situation attributed to the Chinese Communist Party’s establishment of a “living organ bank.” This bank reportedly harvests organs from prisoners of conscience, particularly targeting Falun Gong practitioners, with estimates suggesting that between 50,000 and 100,000 are killed annually for their organs.

On a national level, the U.S. Congress is also addressing this issue. A bill aimed at curbing forced organ harvesting has already been passed by the House and is now awaiting further action in the Senate.

Now, we’re almost out of time, so that has to be our final story on the Wednesday edition of The Epoch Times News Brief!

Before we turn out the lights and lock the doors, this brief reminder: If you enjoy our News Brief program, please let us know by shooting over an email. We’re at [email protected], and we always look forward to your thoughts, comments, and suggestions. Let’s see who’s written in.

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We’ll end today’s program with this very notable quote:

“Do one thing every day that scares you” —Eleanor Roosevelt

Take a flying lesson, sing a song in public, or go to a swing dancing class. Three things that frighten me beyond all measure.

From all of us here at The Epoch Times News Brief, I’m Bill Thomas. Don’t scare yourself too much, and have an EPOCH day!

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