Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers told the judge in his 2020 election case late Monday night that it should be dismissed as a violation of the Constitution and an instance of “vindictive prosecution.”
In a series of motions to dismiss filed Monday night, Trump’s team alleged that his prosecution violates multiple parts of the Constitution, including his First Amendment right to free speech and the Due Process clause. His legal team filed another motion to dismiss earlier in the month asserting that he is immune from prosecution because the actions were taken within the bounds of his office.
Trump’s lawyers told Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan that the prosecution exercised “an astonishing display of doublethink” by simultaneously stating the former president has a right to speak publicly about his belief that there was election fraud and asserting that, by doing so, he sought to “defraud the United States,” “oppress rights,” and “obstruct an official proceeding.” They also argued he cannot be retried in court because he was acquitted for the same offenses by the Senate.
“Additionally, as the United States Senate has previously tried and acquitted President Trump for charges arising from the same course of conduct alleged in the indictment, the impeachment and double jeopardy clauses both bar retrial before this Court and require dismissal,” the filing states.
His team alleged the indictment was an instance of “selective and vindictive prosecution,” writing that there have been no other prosecutions in American history relating to alternate electors.
“This case, urged by Biden when many prosecutors and agents appropriately saw no basis for it, is a straightforward retaliatory response to President Trump’s decisions as Commander In Chief in 2020, his exercising his constitutional rights to free speech and to petition for the redress of grievances, and his decision to run for political office,” they wrote.
In a separate filing, his lawyers said the former president did not violate the statutes he was charged with, even if the allegations in the indictment are true. They said prosecutors wrongly stretched the language in “a statute directed at the destruction of records in accounting fraud” to cover disputing a presidential election.
Prosecutors responded to Trump’s initial motion to dismiss earlier this month by claiming it is unsupported by American history. There is no “legal principle, case or historical practice” backing the idea that a former president is immune from criminal prosecution, prosecutors argued.
Katelynn Richardson on October 24, 2023