The federal prosecutors pursuing election interference charges against former US President Donald Trump asked a Washington, DC district judge Monday to deny Trump’s motions to dismiss the case.
The DC case concerns allegations that Trump engaged in conspiracy to defraud the US government’s election process, as well as conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings and actual obstruction.
The charges stem from the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 US presidential election, which he decried as fraudulent and “rigged.” Trump defended his actions as advocacy of election integrity and on First Amendment freedom of speech grounds. In his motion to dismiss the charges, Trump asserted that the prosecution failed to show any actual violations of law and compared any efforts to overturn the presidential election to distributing “handbills” that espoused “disfavored viewpoints on a hotly disputed political and social question,” a behavior that the US Supreme Court has upheld as a protected activity without evidence of “deceit or trickery.” Trump also claimed constitutional immunity against the prosecution based on his acquittal by the US Senate during impeachment proceedings regarding the same conduct according to the principles of separation of powers and double jeopardy.
US prosecutors rebutted the arguments in their opposing motion, criticizing the defense’s characterization of Trump’s actions as “innocuous” or “admirable conduct” and further accused him of using “deceit toward state officials,” as well as “deceit to organize fraudulent slates of electors,” in several states. The rebuttal also cited attempts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the election during the certification process despite knowledge of the lack of any electoral fraud. They further attacked the First Amendment defense by contending that freedom of speech does not cover “fraudulent speech or speech otherwise integral to criminal conduct.” The prosecution labeled the double jeopardy issue as “frivolous” and asked the court to deny the motion to dismiss.
The opposition brief comes amid a spate of other recent filings in the case, including a filing opposing the defense’s claim that the former president is being subjected to a “selective and vindictive prosecution.” Trump is facing a multitude of legal proceedings tied to the 2020 election and other business dealings in the past, not limited to a multimillion-dollar fraud case in New York, a case challenging his ballot eligibility for the upcoming 2024 election in Colorado and criminal proceedings for election interference in Georgia.