AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

J6 Defendant Who Carried Confederate Flag to Be Released Due to SCOTUS Case on DOJ’s Obstruction Charges

Kevin Seefried, a Delaware man convicted in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot, is being released from prison early due to a case that challenges the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) use of “obstruction of an official proceeding” charges against J6 defendants. The case, Fischer v. United States, now before the Supreme Court, prompted Seefried’s early release pending the final ruling, which could impact the sentences of many other defendants.


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Seefried’s initial sentencing included three years for felony obstruction and an additional 12 months and six months, running concurrently, for two misdemeanors of disorderly conduct and trespassing. At sentencing, the DOJ highlighted Seefried’s involvement in the riot, noting that he and his son were among the first to enter the Capitol and were photographed carrying a Confederate flag.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, appointed by former President Donald Trump, granted Seefried’s motion for release pending appeal. McFadden stated in an 11-page order that federal prosecutors did not provide sufficient evidence to support their argument that Seefried is a threat, rejecting U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves’ claims that releasing Seefried would expose him to the same environment that led to his crimes and increase the risk of flight. 

McFadden criticized the DOJ’s fact-free review of Seefried’s request, accusing the government of a class-based approach to January 6 defendants, writing:

McFadden determined that Seefried’s appeal raised significant questions that could lead to a modification of his sentence or a non-custodial resolution. Given that at least four Supreme Court justices are interested in reviewing the obstruction charge and have agreed to hear the Fischer case, McFadden expects that SCOTUS may rule favorably, and Seefried’s release is in line with the anticipation that his actions likely did not violate obstruction laws.

McFadden wrote:

McFadden ruled a “one-year sentence is likely adequate” for Seefried’s misdemeanor charges, ordering his release one year after the date he surrendered to the Bureau of Prisons, which occurred on May 31, 2023.

The DOJ has brought the obstruction charge in question against more than 332 defendants, including at least four members of the Proud Boys and former President Trump. Fischer questions “whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in construing 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), which prohibits obstruction of congressional inquiries and investigations, to include acts unrelated to investigations and evidence.” SCOTUS is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Fischer on April 16. 

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