Special counsel strikes at Trump’s ‘culmination’ of election lies

Special Counsel Jack Smith has asked a federal judge in Washington DC to reject Donald Trump’s efforts to strike “inflammatory” descriptions of January 6 from the criminal indictment against him, saying Mr Trump is “responsible for the events at the Capitol” thus the statements are relevant.

In a filing sent to Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday, Mr Smith’s office explicitly attributed the ex-president’s behaviour on the days leading up to January 6 to the violent attack on the Capitol.

“Indeed, that day was the culmination of the defendant’s criminal conspiracies to overturn the legitimate results of the presidential election, when the defendant directed a large and angry crowd—one that he had summoned to Washington, DC, and fueled with knowingly false claims of election fraud—to the Capitol to obstruct the congressional certification proceeding,” the special counsel wrote in the filing.

Mr Smith’s office accused Mr Trump of filing a motion to strike inflammatory allegations from the indictment as a way to “distance himself” from the violent attack on the Capitol in a “meritless effort to evade the indictment’s clear allegations.”

In October, Mr Trump asked the court to remove descriptions of the actions that took place on January 6 from the indictment, claiming it was irrelevant to the case against him because he is not charged with responsibility for the actions.

The ex-president is instead charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiring against rights, and obstructing and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.

Though the ex-president is not directly charged with inciting the riot nor participating in the attack, Mr Smith’s office argued that January 6 is directly correlated with Mr Trump’s actions leading up to it.

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (AFP via Getty Images)

The special counsel claimed the ex-president “cultivated widespread anger, resentment and mistrust” of the 2020 election results by “spreading knowingly false claims of election fraud” and then “urged his supporters to travel to Washington DC” the day Congress was certifying election results.

The special counsel added that Mr Trump told his supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell”.

“Contrary to the defendant’s claims, then, the indictment’s allegations related to the actions at the Capitol are relevant and probative evidence of the defendant’s conduct and intent, and they are neither prejudicial nor inflammatory. His motion to strike them from the indictment must be denied,” Mr Smith’s office wrote.

The prosecution has accused Mr Trump of trying to delay the government’s case against him as much as possible by filing various motions and attempts to dismiss the case.

So far, Mr Trump’s legal team has filed four separate motions to dismiss the case – which is set to go to trial on 4 March.