Legal Expert Notes That Donald Trump Sabotaged His Own Legal Defense
During a recent Meet the Press interview, former President Donald Trump publicly admitted to disregarding the advice of his lawyers. This statement destroyed a key pillar of his defense strategy and raised concerns about his general approach to the many legal problems he is now facing. According to Raw Story, Trump's honest words have legal experts baffled and his legal defense in shambles.
Trump is currently entangled in a lengthy court battle over his role in the events of January 6, 2021, when a violent mob stormed the United States Capitol. Until now, his defense had depended on a crucial argument: that he had followed the advice of his legal counsel, essentially contending that he had not acted with criminal intent.
This defense tactic, however, suffered a setback during the Meet the Press interview. Trump openly said that he disregarded the advice of his White House legal team over the outcome of the 2020 election and his attempts to overturn it. He reasons that he simply did not "respect them." This shocking statement tipped the scales against him, prompting legal experts to label it a huge blunder that would plague his legal prospects.
https://t.co/cv9wbKOhEI "a key defense that Trump was reportedly planning to use over his involvement in the Jan 6 insurrection was that his lawyers were in agreement that he had won the election."— John Gibbs (@JohnGib28171194) September 24, 2023
As cited by Raw Story, Judge Andrew Napolitano, a long-time Trump supporter and legal commentator, voiced his shock in a column published in the Orange County Register. Even before Trump's admission, Napolitano noted that his defense plan was fundamentally problematic based on legal precedence. The "advice of counsel" defense has long been recognized by the Supreme Court, but it needs precise evidence, frequently in the form of live testimony from the lawyer who delivered the advice. The defense questions the government's intent proof but does not excuse or condone the crime itself.
Trump's latest admission not only weakens an already shaky defense but also introduces a new challenge. To effectively employ the "advice of counsel" defense, Trump would need to invite his former White House lawyers to testify, explaining that he disclosed his plans and followed their advice. However, Trump's public rejection of these lawyers as "RINOs" (Republicans in name only) and his lack of respect for them cast doubt on their willingness to testify in his favor. Furthermore, the Meet the Press interview might be used to undermine the legitimacy of any advice-of-counsel allegation they make.
.@neal_katyal: "If you're Jack Smith this morning, you're going 'thank you.'" @AWeissmann_: "He just said it on air to NBC, stop counting the votes. Well that's not allowed." #TheLawFirm on what Trump revealed in new interview with @kwelkernbc 👇 pic.twitter.com/vpElpyKe9a— Inside with Jen Psaki (@InsideWithPsaki) September 17, 2023
During an appearance on MSNBC, former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal emphasized the significance of Trump's admission, reports Vanity Fair. He noted that Trump's defense had mostly focused on the claim that he had followed the advice of his counsel, implying a lack of criminal intent. Trump's statement during the interview, however, changed the narrative. Katyal added that this information simplifies the prosecution's task because it exposes Trump's fault.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann agreed, highlighting that Trump's comments during the interview implicated him in events of the January 6. By claiming that he wanted to "stop counting the votes," Trump essentially admitted to participating in potentially criminal conduct.
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