Former President Donald Trump has mounted a fresh legal challenge to the federal election subversion case against him, demanding it be dismissed because it violates his First Amendment rights, among other claims.
The motions put legal bones on the defense Trump repeats the most in public: that he had every right to challenge President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 vote and to claim that it was tainted by fraud.
His defense lawyers say special counsel Jack Smith is wrongly seeking to “criminalize claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen” nor “impose its views on a disputed political question” like whether there was widespread fraud.
“The fact that the indictment alleges that the speech at issue was supposedly, according to the prosecution, ‘false’ makes no difference,” the defense wrote in the 34-page filing. “Under the First Amendment, each individual American … decides for him or herself what is true and false on great disputed social and political questions.”
Trump’s new defense motions filed late Monday are considered long shots but appeals to higher courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court could force delays in the trial that U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan has ordered to start on March 4.
Trump also claimed in the new filings that he is being singled out for prosecution by Biden allies to prevent him from running for president again.
Analysts also call that a legal Hail Mary since there is no evidence the White House has anything to do with the moves to prosecute Trump.
Trump also says he cannot be charged with crimes stemming from conduct that was considered by Congress during his second impeachment trial.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump but Senate Republicans refused to convict him, a move that would have barred him from running for office again but would not have carried criminal penalties.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against convicting Trump but said that he expected the ex-president could be held accountable by the criminal justice system.
Prosecutors note that they have amassed a mountain of evidence against Trump in the years since the impeachment effort.
Trump has earlier claimed that he has immunity from prosecution for all actions taken while he was serving as president.
All the objections are likely to be ruled on by Chutkan. Trump could appeal rulings to the Washington, D.C. federal Circuit Court and eventually the Supreme Court, although there is no guarantee they would agree to hear any of the arguments.