In court filings that landed moments before the midnight deadline, Trump’s lawyers claimed he was a victim of political persecution by the Biden administration. They called the charges against Trump legally flawed and vague, and He said the prosecution should not link him to the violence of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.because he is not accused of inciting that disturbance.
“Because the Government has not charged President Trump with responsibility for the actions at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the allegations related to these actions are not relevant and are damaging and inflammatory. Therefore, the Court should strike these allegations from the indictment,” wrote defense attorneys Todd Blanche, John Lauro, Emil Bove and Gregory Singer.
“The charge should be dismissed because it seeks to criminalize the core political speech and advocacy that lies at the heart of the First Amendment,” they wrote.
While some aspects of the former president’s case raise historic and unprecedented legal questions, the motions filed Monday night are fairly typical of criminal defendants attempting to challenge the legal sufficiency of the charges against them.
Trump’s claims of selective and faulty processing have been raised without success in the last two–plus years for defendants charged in connection with the Capitol riot, in which angry Trump supporters, sent by Trump to the Capitol after a demonstration near the White House, injured dozens of police officers, caused multiple deaths, and forced the evacuation of Congress as it met to formally certify the results of the 2020 election.
Prosecutors led by special counsel Jack Smith will have a chance to respond to Trump’s motions in the coming weeks, both in writing and through oral arguments.
Trump is scheduled to face trial in federal court in Washington in March after pleading not guilty to a indictment from August 1 accusing him of criminal conspiracy to remain in power. obstruct Congress’ legal certification of Biden’s victory and deprive Americans have their civil right to have their votes counted..
The case is one of four trials for serious crimes of Trumps charged this year, including a state trial in Georgia that involves similar accusations of attempting to obstruct the state’s election results; to federal indictment in florida over Trump’s alleged withholding and mishandling of classified documents and obstruction after leaving the White House; and a new york State prosecutor’s office for corporate fraud accusing Trump of covering up a money payment made during the 2016 election campaign.
In Monday night’s motions, Trump argued that Congress’s failed impeachment attempt (in the final days of his presidency, after the Capitol riot) was the proper place to decide Trump’s guilt or innocence with regarding their election-related efforts. Trump’s legal team also maintained that Trump had acted within the bounds of the presidency in seeking to nullify the 2020 results.
The Constitution provides that a president impeached and removed from office can subsequently be impeached by “Impeachment, Trial, Sentence and Punishment,” language that Trump’s lawyers argued “presupposes that a President who is not convicted cannot be subject to criminal prosecution.” ”.
They added: “The plain text of the Constitution, the structural principles of separation of powers, our history and tradition, and the principles of double jeopardy prevent the Executive Branch from attempting to reload and retry a president who has already been accused and acquitted in a trial before the United States Senate.”
Prosecutors have previously said Trump argued otherwise during his impeachment trial, saying he could be impeached later if the Senate acquitted him, an interpretation prosecutors agreed with. Smith’s team has argued that the clause was intended to limit Congress’s power to remove and disqualify presidents from office, not to prevent the prosecution of those who escaped impeachment.
In a late separate submission On Monday, Trump’s legal team argued that even if the allegations laid out in the indictment were true, the government did not sufficiently explain how the former president violated the laws he is accused of.
For example, defense attorneys said that while prosecutors charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the country, they failed to show that his intent was deceptive — an intent that Trump’s lawyers say should be necessary to charge him with the crime.
Legal experts have said intent, or proving that Trump knew his claims of widespread voter fraud were lies, will be a crucial element of Smith’s case. But Trump’s team argued Monday night that the president was in no position to mislead anyone about whether the election was fraudulent. The lawyers said the case should not be allowed to go to trial and urged U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to dismiss her charge on legal grounds.
“Virtually all Americans, including the public officials cited, had similar access to much of this same information, including a mountain of publicly reported facts and opinions, which were the subject of wall-to-wall media coverage throughout the post-election period and beyond,” the document reads.
“To claim that President Trump, as one voice among countless millions, was somehow able to unilaterally ‘mislead’ or ‘mislead’ these individuals, who include some of the most informed politicians on the planet, simply by advocating his opinions on this controversial issue. , it is more than absurd.”