In a significant legal development, former President Donald Trump’s legal team has filed several responses to counter the Justice Department’s (DOJ) prosecution efforts.
On November 22, these filings, made in the U.S. District Court under Judge Tanya Chutkan, argued for dismissal based on claims of selective and vindictive targeting by the Biden administration.
Trump’s legal team contends that the administration is abusing its authority and violating constitutional protections related to free speech and due process.
Constitutional Concerns and Presidential Immunity
These filings highlight constitutional issues such as double jeopardy, free speech, and due process. Trump’s team argues that the case represents selective prosecution directed by President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential chief rival in the 2024 Presidential race.
One of the filings states, “The prosecution seeks to install itself as America’s censor, with roving authority to prosecute all who speak out against its approved narratives criminally.” Further, it contends, “The indictment is unconstitutional on its face and must be dismissed.”
First Amendment and Fair Notice
A central point of contention in these filings is the First Amendment. Trump’s attorneys assert that the indictment infringes upon protected political speech.
Additionally, they argue that Trump was not given fair notice that his conduct was unlawful, stating, “President Trump’s acquittal before the United States Senate forecloses retrial before this Court, as do the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and fair notice.”
In response, the DOJ defended its indictment on November 6, alleging that Trump’s legal team had misrepresented the charges.
The DOJ’s filing read, “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.”
It also dismissed the double jeopardy claim as “frivolous.”
Selective and Vindictive Prosecution Claims
Trump’s motion to dismiss for selective and vindictive prosecution is based on media reports about the Biden administration’s alleged focus on his conduct.
The filing from Trump’s team on November 22 alleges, “President Biden was so successful, in fact, that the Special Counsel brought two deeply flawed cases against President Trump.”
This claim suggests an abuse of power by the current administration to target a political rival.
Investigations into President Biden and Family
The context of these legal battles is broadened by ongoing investigations into President Biden and his family.
Special Counsel Robert Hur is investigating Biden over mishandling classified documents, while U.S. attorney David Weiss is examining Hunter Biden’s business activities.
DOJ Dismisses Conspiracy Claims
In a strong rebuttal, the DOJ on November 6 refuted the claims of bias and abuse by Trump’s legal team, stating, “This rumor and innuendo is not a substitute for proof, and it falls far short of the sort of clear, objective evidence that is required to support a selective or vindictive prosecution claim.”
The DOJ emphasizes that the indictment is based solely on facts and the law, dismissing any notion of conspiratorial motivations.