Oct 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump attorneys make new push to dismiss federal election subversion case

Former President Trump speaking in Derry, New Hampshire, on Oct. 23.

Former President Trump speaking in Derry, New Hampshire, on Oct. 23. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Lawyers for former President Trump filed a flurry of new motions late Monday in a fresh attempt to get the federal election subversion case against him dismissed.

Why it matters: The new arguments come on top of a previous claim from his lawyers that he has absolute immunity from federal prosecution because his actions after the 2020 election and on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack were performed within his official role as president.

Catch up quickly: The indictment against Trump in part alleges that he conspired to "impair, obstruct, and defeat" the federal government by knowingly using false claims of election fraud to subvert legitimate 2020 election results.

  • He also did so, it alleges, by organizing a fraudulent slate of electors in several states, trying to pressure former Vice President Pence into altering election results and exploiting Jan. 6 violence to delay certification of the results.

Details: In the new filings, Trump's lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges with prejudice, claiming they violate his free speech rights and represent a vindictive prosecution.

  • Another filing asks that references to the pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol be stricken from the indictment because prosecutors did not accuse him of inciting it.
  • They claim that references to Jan. 6 are not relevant and are "prejudicial and inflammatory."

The big picture: Special counsel Jack Smith's team asked a judge last week to dismiss Trump's claim of absolute immunity, saying its implications "are startling."

  • They argued that the immunity theory would grant a president protection from criminal prosecution over a wide variety of abuses of power, and they used "a president who sells nuclear secrets to a foreign adversary" as an example.
  • The election subversion case against Trump is one of two federal indictments against him. He also faces 40 counts related to his retention of classified documents after he left the White House.
  • He faces several other state charges — including a sweeping racketeering case in Georgia — and civil cases, such as the ongoing fraud trial against him in New York and writer E. Jean Carroll's second defamation lawsuit against him.

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