In their formal response to the accusation of “inciting insurgency” against Trump, Trump’s new team of lawyers adopts a two-pronged strategy.
They first claim that the Senate trial is unconstitutional and that Trump’s (false) statements about the election results are protected by the US Constitution Amendment on Free Speech.
They also argue that his words were not the cause of the deadly riot on Capitol Hill.
Trump’s first group of lawyers resigned because they were unwilling to recite the voter fraud lie. His new team does so, but very indirectly by invoking freedom of expression. Any lawyer who supports Trump’s electoral fraud story in Congress would risk being struck from the bar.
It might turn into a circus
Its new lawyers, David Schoen and Bruce Castor, are not constitutional law specialists. But it doesn’t matter. The trial has virtually no chance of ending in a conviction.
One thing is certain, however, the Senate procedures risk turning into a circus and disrupting the return to normalcy of political life in Washington.
Democrats plan to show videos of the insurgency where participants use the same words Trump did in his speech leading up to the unrest.
Trump’s team will counter this by calling witnesses who will show that the Capitol storming was planned and coordinated in advance without his knowledge. This will further enrage his supporters who accuse Trump of having let them down after having encouraged them to interrupt the session of Congress that endorsed the election of Biden.
The precedent of the Ku Klux Klan
To back up their claim that Trump’s language did not constitute incitement to violence, his lawyers reportedly intend to cite a landmark US Supreme Court ruling regarding a lawsuit against a Ku Klux Klan leader for a speech advocating violence against blacks and Jews.
In that 1969 ruling, the High Court ruled that the speech, even though it advocated illegal conduct, was protected by the First Amendment to the constitution.
It should be noted that Trump’s two lawyers are no strangers to controversial legal disputes in which high-level criminal figures are involved.
Bruce Castor made headlines after refusing to prosecute comedian Bill Cosby over sexual assault allegations for which he was ultimately sentenced to jail.
David Schoen represented Trump’s henchman, Roger Stone, convicted of lying under oath in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump later pardoned him.
Financial mogul Jeffrey Epstein accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls also retained Schoen’s services when he committed suicide in prison.