The attorneys making up the defense team of former President Donald Trump said that the upcoming Senate trial to impeach him is unconstitutional. With this, in their first formal response to Trump’s impeachment, they asked the Senate to dismiss the charges.
In a 14-page filing, Trump’s legal team argued that whatever the former president said during the election is considered free speech. They denied that Trump incited the mobbing at the U.S. Capitol last month, which resulted in multiple deaths.
In the document, the Trump defense team admitted the undeniable fact that the former president addressed the crowd right before the Capitol siege on Jan. 6. However, in his defense, the legal team cited his First Amendment rights. It said the former president had the right to express his thoughts on whether the election results were rigged.
False claims regarding election fraud were not directly cited by Trump’s team as their defense. However, their document mentioned the former president’s complaints about it. This may signal that these conspiracies could surface during the trial.
Trump’s team also mentioned that the Senate does not have the jurisdiction to remove someone from office “who does not hold office” in the filing. It then called the impeachment case “moot” and requested for the Senate to acquit the former president. It requested for Trump’s acquittal ”on the merits of the allegations raised in the article of impeachment.”
Apart from this, the team also claimed that the House’s drafting of the article of impeachment was improper. They said it lacked due process. It pointed out that the House did not conduct hearings and only took a week to approve the impeachment.
Trump Defense Team Gets New Lawyers
This 14-page filing comes days after the former president decided to let go five members of his legal team. He then went to get the services of criminal defense attorney David Schoen and former Pennsylvania district attorney Bruce Castor Jr.
Trump decided to part ways with his first legal team due to differences in trial strategies. The former president wanted the defense to focus on the electoral fraud claims he had, according to a source who is familiar with the matter. However, his first set of attorneys wanted to defend him by pointing out that the Senate can’t hold a trial for someone already out of office, and that his words before the rally in January did not incite the crowd from mobbing the Capitol.