What is ‘obstruction of justice’?

In the United States, obstruction of justice is a crime that arises when someone tries to prevent, impede, or influence the administration of justice — a cloud that now hangs over President Trump’s firing of former FBI director Comey. See, e.g., Notre Dame law prof Jimmy Gurulé’s May 11, 2017 CNN commentary, Could Trump have obstructed justice? Professor Gurulé suggests readers read the law and compare it to the events unfolding in Washington because it appears that the actions of Donald Trump meet some of the required criteria for obstruction of justice.

“The general federal obstruction of justice provisions are six: 18 U.S.C. 1512 (tampering with federal witnesses), 1513 (retaliating against federal witnesses), 1503 (obstruction of pending federal court proceedings), 1505 (obstruction of pending congressional or federal administrative proceedings), 371 (conspiracy), and contempt,” quoting from the CRS report, Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities, (Apr. 17, 2014, RL34303). The report adds “there are a host of other statutes that penalize obstruction by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit.” — Recommended. — Joe

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