What Constitutes Obstruction of Justice and Who Commits this Crime?

What Constitutes Obstruction of Justice and Who Commits this Crime?

Obstruction of justice has oft been mentioned lately, particularly in connection to a probe initiated by Democrats seated as members of the House Judiciary Committee. After hearing Michael Cohen’s testimony last February 27, 2019, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, (D-NY), said he has reason to believe that Donald Trump had obstructed justice.

What Does Obstruction of Justice Connote

In US legal parlance, obstruction of justice is termed as a process crime. It is a malfeasance by those who intentionally committed acts that prevent the judicial system, from carrying out processes and procedures critical to preserving the integrity of the justice system.

Who Commits Obstruction of Justice?

The most common example of actions constituting obstruction of justice are committed by perjurers, who were proven to have lied in providing testimony under oath. Persons or entities found guilty of concealing, destroying or altering physical evidence can likewise be charged with obstruction of justice.

Even prosecutors, attorneys, judges, elected and appointed government official are not exempt from being charged with obstruction, which also applies if they applied bribery or exerted coercion using threats or physical harm in obtaining evidence or testimony presented in court. On the other hand, a person summoned to testify or deliver evidence, but refused to do so as an act of deliberately undermining the authority of a court official, can be charged with obstruction.

What Steps Have Been Undertaken by the House Democrats in Carrying Out Their Probe?

Justice Committee Chairman Nadler, acknowledges that Cohen’s testimony in the hearing conducted by the House Committee On Oversight and Reform, requires a deeper probe to substantiate implications of Trump’s involvement in distorting justice proceedings.

In initializing the extensive investigation, the panel of Democrats in-charge, had sent 81 document requests addressed to various persons and entities with past or present ties to the Trump administration; including those involved in his presidential campaigns, as well as those associated with the Trump Organization and other family businesses constituted as part of his business empire.

Recipients of such requests are required to submit the documents on or before March 18, 2019.