Trump Files Motions in New Bid to Dismiss Election Subversion Case – Attorneys representing Donald Trump have introduced fresh legal objections in the federal election subversion case against him. They argue that the indictment should be dropped, contending that it infringes on the former president’s freedom of speech and amounts to a prosecutorial effort driven by vindictiveness.
These motions, submitted on Monday, add to the ongoing argument by Trump’s defense team that he is shielded from federal prosecution for actions conducted in his capacity as president. The legal team led by special counsel Jack Smith recently advised a judge to dismiss that argument, and they are anticipated to take a similar stance regarding the latest motions.
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While it’s common for defendants to seek the dismissal of charges, it’s relatively infrequent for such requests to be approved. In the case of Trump, these challenges to the indictment have the potential, at the very least, to cause a delay in the prosecution, which is scheduled for trial in Washington next March. These motions directly challenge some of Trump’s frequently stated public defenses.
He argues that he’s facing prosecution due to political motives from the Biden administration’s justice department and that he was well within his rights to exercise free speech when contesting the election outcome, alleging fraud. However, courts nationwide, including Trump’s own attorney general, have consistently rejected his claims of election fraud.
Trump’s lawyers claim prosecutors are attempting to criminalize political speech and advocacy, arguing that constitutional protections extend even to statements “made in advocating for government officials to act on one’s views.” They said the prosecution team “cannot criminalize claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen” nor “impose its views on a disputed political question” like the election’s integrity.
“The fact that the indictment alleges that the speech at issue was supposedly, according to the prosecution, ‘false’ makes no difference,” the defense wrote. “Each individual American participating in a free marketplace of ideas – not the federal government – decides for him or herself what is true and false on great disputed social and political questions.”
From the beginning of the four-count indictment, Smith’s team acknowledged that Trump had the legal right to contest his defeat to Biden. However, they argued that Trump’s actions extended well beyond that, alleging illegal involvement in a conspiracy to obstruct the official tallying of electoral votes by Congress on January 6. This was the same day when his supporters carried out the deadly Capitol attack, temporarily disrupting the proceedings.
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The defense lawyers also contend that Trump, the early front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is being prosecuted for vindictive and political reasons, alleging that his Democratic rival “Biden’s publicly stated objective is to use the criminal justice system to incapacitate president Trump.” Trump’s lawyers say the justice department appointed Smith as special counsel last year as a way to “insulate Biden and his supporters from scrutiny of their obvious and illegal bias.”
Trump’s legal team is also requesting the removal of references to the Capitol attack by Trump’s supporters from the indictment. They argue that since prosecutors haven’t accused him of inciting the attack, such references should be omitted. “Allegations in the indictment relating to these actions, when president Trump has not been charged with responsibility for them, is highly prejudicial and inflammatory because members of the jury may wrongfully impute fault to president Trump for these actions,” his attorneys wrote.