US supreme court rules on Capitol riot charge

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a charge brought by federal prosecutors against hundreds of rioters who stormed the Capitol three years ago -- "obstruction of an official proceeding" -- may not be applicable to all the defendants.

The justices ruled that an "obstruction" refers to actions that "impair the availability or integrity" of "records, documents, or objects" used in an official proceeding. They say the Justice Department overstepped in their use of the statute and that lower courts need to reopen some of the cases.

Prosecutors argue that the presence of some of the rioters inside the Capitol while Congress was in session was an "obstruction." A second part of the statute says the law applies to whoever "obstructs, influences, or impedes" any official proceeding.

Still, Friday's ruling will require them to link a defendant's actions to trying to tamper with or destroy documents.

Former president Donald Trump is facing the same charge. He claimed he won the 2020 election and, just before the riot, called on his supporters to "fight like hell."

He posted on social media that the ruling is a "big win." Addressing supporters at a rally in Chesapeake, Virginia, he claimed that the "persecution" is happening because he is running for president and is leading in "all of the polls."

Trump has said he should be immune from prosecution for any "official acts" during his tenure in the White House. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on that issue on Monday, when it releases the final opinions of its current term.