Former President Donald Trump’s defense attorneys have presented new challenges in the case where he is accused of taking part in an attempt to subvert the 2020 election results.
They argue that the indictment should be dismissed, as it violates his free speech rights and represents a vindictive prosecution, as reported by Associated Press News on Tuesday, October 24.
These motions add to the existing argument put forth by Trump’s defense that he is immune from federal prosecution for actions taken during his tenure as president.
The special counsel, Jack Smith, has previously urged a judge to reject this immunity argument and is expected to do the same for the new motions.
While requests to dismiss charges are typically not granted, these challenges could potentially lead to a delay in the upcoming trial set for March in Washington.
The essence of these legal motions strikes at the core of some of Trump’s often-repeated public defenses.
They claim that he is being prosecuted for political reasons by the Joe Biden administration’s Justice Department and that his actions were protected by the First Amendment.
The lawyers argue that First Amendment protections extend to statements made while advocating for government officials to act on one’s views, even if those claims are “false.”
“The fact that the indictment alleges that the speech at issue was supposedly, according to the prosecution, ‘false’ makes no difference,” the defense wrote.
“Under the First Amendment, 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.”
Legal experts, however, have expressed doubts about the likelihood of Trump’s First Amendment claims succeeding, particularly given the extent of his actions that allegedly went beyond speech and involved efforts to overturn the election results.
The defense attorneys assert that Trump is being prosecuted vindictively and for political reasons, suggesting that President Biden’s aim is to use the criminal justice system to incapacitate his main political rival.
They question the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith, viewing it as an attempt to shield Biden and his supporters from scrutiny.
Additionally, Trump’s legal team seeks to remove references to the attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters from the indictment, arguing that prosecutors haven’t accused Trump of inciting the riot.
They claim that including such allegations in the indictment could unfairly influence the jury.
While Trump is not charged with incitement, prosecutors have pointed to his actions as having contributed to the chaos at the Capitol on January 6th.