“No matter the political motives of the defendants or any political message they want to express, this alleged conduct is simply not protected by the First Amendment,” Kelly wrote.
“The defendants, as they argue, are not charged with anything like burning flags, wearing black bracelets or participating in simple sit-ins or protests,” Kelly added. “Furthermore, even if the conduct complained of had any expressive aspect, it lost any protection of the First Amendment that it may have had.”
Kelly also wrote: “Obviously, there were many avenues for defendants to express their views on the 2020 presidential election, or their views on how Congress should fulfill its constitutional duties on January 6, without resorting to the conduct they have been charged with. “
Kelly, appointed by former President Donald Trump, is now the fourth DC district court judge to uphold prosecutors’ use of the law in the Jan. 6 cases.
The ruling in the Proud Boys case is especially notable because this and a separate case against members of another right-wing group, the Oath Keepers, are two of the most prominent prosecutions related to January 6. (Judge Amit Mehta previously confirmed the use of prosecutors). of the obstruction charge in the Oath Keepers case.)
Members of both groups are accused of conspiracy. In the case of Proud Boys, the four leaders are accused of working together to lead and equip members of their group in a violent paramilitary-style assault on the Capitol.
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