Former President Donald Trump’s legal team makes the case that the Democrat effort to impeach him is unconstitutional and violates his First Amendment right to free speech.
“The Senate should dismiss these charges and acquit the President because this is clearly not what the Framers wanted or what the Constitution allows,” the memo from Trump’s lawyers — Bruce L. Castor Jr., David Schoen, and Michael T. van der Veen — states.
The Trump legal team released a 78-page memo on Monday detailing their case against the push by Democrats to impeach the former president even after leaving office.
“Conviction at an impeachment trial requires the possibility of a removal from office,” the lawyers wrote. “Without that possibility, there cannot be a trial.”
Trump’s lawyers argued that the Senate did not have the authority to hold a trial of a private citizen, citing Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution prohibiting Congress from determining the guilt or punishment of a private citizen, or bill of attainder, a process reserved for the independent judicial branch.
“The Constitution only gives the Senate jurisdiction over the President, not the former President, of the United States,” the memo reads.
The former president’s lawyers also argue that Trump’s January 6th speech was constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.
“President Trump’s speech at the January 6, 2021 event fell well within the norms of political speech that is protected by the First Amendment, and to try him for that would be to do a grave injustice to the freedom of speech in this country,” the memo reads.
The Democrat article of impeachment, the legal team argues, are based on a false analysis of his speech delivered on January 6 in which he urged his followers to protest the 2020 election.
They argued that Trump only used the word “fight” a “little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense” and finally called on his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically use their voices” to protest the election.
The memo also notes that Capitol Hill law enforcement had reports of a potential attack on the Capitol prior to and separate from the president’s speech.
“The real truth is that the people who criminally breached the Capitol did so of their own accord and for their own reasons, and they are being criminally prosecuted,” the memo reads.
The memo also argues Trump’s speech on January 6 did not inspire the riots because the rioting began before he was finished speaking.
“Protesters, activists, and rioters had already breached Capitol Grounds a mile away and 19 minutes prior to the end of President Trump’s speech,” they noted.