Prosecutors with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office are calling on Judge Tanya Chutkan to reject former president Donald Trump’s effort to have the election subversion and conspiracy charges against him dismissed, writing in a Monday court filing that Mr Trump “stands alone in American history for his alleged crimes” and pointing out that cases cited by the ex-president’s lawyers don’t support the arguments they’ve made.
“No other president has engaged in conspiracy and obstruction to overturn valid election results and illegitimately retain power. The indictment squarely charges the defendant for this conduct, and the defendant’s constitutional and statutory challenges to it are meritless,” they said.
In the 79-page filing opposing two separate motions filed by Mr Trump’s legal team, Assistant Special Counsels James Pierce, John Pellettieri and Senior Assistant Special Counsels Thomas Windom and Molly Gaston noted that the indictment returned against the ex-president by a Washington, DC grand jury over the summer accused him of “perpetrating an unprecedented campaign of deceit to attack the very functioning of the federal government to collect, count, and certify votes; to obstruct the January 6 congressional proceeding at which the election results are certified; and to disenfranchise millions of voters”.
They further described Mr Trump actions as part of “a concerted criminal effort to overturn the presidential election results and prevent the lawful transfer of power to his successor”.
Last month, Mr Trump’s attorneys filed the two separate motions to dismiss the charges on both constitutional and statutory grounds, including by claiming that he has permanent immunity for any acts he undertook as president, and by arguing that his acquittal at the end of his second impeachment trial by the Senate bars him from being charged criminally for any conduct relating to his efforts to overturn the election.
But prosecutors now say those filings only reflect the fact that Mr Trump “cannot mount meritorious challenges to the charges against him” and derided the ex-president’s arguments as relying on “distortions and misrepresentations” in an attempt to “rewrite” the charges against him as being for “wholly innocuous, perhaps even admirable conduct”.
And prosecutors summarily rejected the idea that Mr Trump’s actions amounted to merely political speech, protected by the First Amendment.
“The allegations that the defendant sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by resorting to fraud, deceit, and corruption place his conduct well outside the protections afforded by the First Amendment and likewise put him fully on notice that his conduct was criminal and thus subject to prosecution,”
Mr Trump’s inner circle is reported to expect a conviction on at least some of the more than 90 felony counts leveled against him in the four criminal cases pending against him. Whether that will actually pan out at all, or before Mr Trump secures the Republican nomination, remains to be seen. But one certainty that has already shown itself regards the massive and growing financial cost of the former president’s legal defences — and the apparent inability of some of his allies to pay their own expenses without help.