Donald Trump lawyer Bruce Castor said it would be ‘insane’ to dispute the legitimacy of the 2020 election in his impeachment defense – after the president split with his former legal team over that very subject.
‘Injecting that into a case that is already a winner would be idiotic,’ Castor said.
‘It would be insane to do that,’ he underlined in an interview with Reuters.
He also denied any pressure make that defense, following press reports that Trump wanted to use the Senate trial as a venue to repeat his baseless claims of election fraud – rather than stressing constitutional arguments that have scholars divided over what is the right course.
‘Nobody has pressured me to make that defense,’ he said.
Castor also said in a KYW radio interview that he specified he only wanted to make ‘technical’ defenses on Trump’s behalf – because anything more wasn’t necessary. Trump parted ways with his team of South Carolina lawyers following reports he wanted them to use the trial to put forward his claims of massive election fraud.
‘I had already said, vetted the first time, that I wasn’t interested in using anything other than technical defenses. There are plenty of questions about how the election was conducted throughout the country, but that’s for a different forum, and I don’t believe that’s important to litigate in the Senate trial because you don’t need it,’ he said.
Instead, the team is focused on the constitutionality issue and a freedom of speech-based defense.
Castor spelled out the free speech defense the former president plans to make at his Senate impeachment trial, saying MAGA rioters he addressed were responsible for their own actions.
Castor gave the plain language defense in an interview with a Philadelphia radio station after he and lawyer David Schoen submitted a legal brief used more formal language to deny the charge of ‘incitement of insurrection.’
”It is denied that the 45th President engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States,’ Trump’s lawyers wrote.
‘Just because somebody gave a speech and people got got excited –that doesn’t mean that the speech maker’s fault,’ Donald Trump lawyer Bruce Castor told a Philadelphia radio station
Castor picked up First Amendment issues sprinkled through the brief.
‘At some point in this country we have to recognize that people are responsible for their own actions and that the President deplores the violence at the Capitol, and those people should be punished – as aggressively as I would have done if I was the DA and they did it at Montgomery County courthouse, the former Pennsylvania prosecutor told KYW News Radio.
‘But just because somebody gave a speech and people got got excited –that doesn’t mean that the speech maker’s [at] fault. It’s people got excited and and did what they know is wrong.’
His argument directly confronts the central argument of the Democratic House managers, who made a point of quoting House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in their own brief.
‘We just had a violent mob assault the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent us from carrying out our constitutional duty,’ Cheney said in a statement before her own vote to impeach Trump. ‘There’s no question the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob. He lit the flame,’ she said.
Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor told a Philadelphia radio station people are ‘responsible for their own actions’
House Democrats charge Donald Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’ for inspiring the MAGA mob, members of which carried his flag to the Capitol. ‘He lit the flame,’ said House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney
Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win
In their legal brief, Trump’s lawyers defended some of the president’s most incendiary language, while trying to soften his claims that the election was ‘stolen’ and ‘rigged.’
They admit that ‘persons unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol,’ according to the brief. But it calls the phrase ‘Seditions acts’ brought by Democrats a ‘term of art that he denies.’
The brief denies that Trump ‘incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior’ and denied the phrase ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’ had ‘anything to do with the action at the Capitol as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general.’
His claim came hours after President Joe Biden went to the Capitol to view the body of slain Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the riot, along with four Trump supporters, including one who was shot in the Capitol.
During the riot, MAGA supporters stormed the building. Many were armed with weapons including axes, baseball bats, and flag poles. Several have identified Trump himself as inspiring their actions. Federal authorities are also investigating militia groups who met before Trump spoke and organized travel in advance of the Jan. 6 rally, which took place the day Congress met to count the electoral votes.
The brief also cites the First Amendment to defend Trump’s baseless claims that Joe Biden won the election through massive fraud – saying there is ‘insufficient evidence’ of whether Trump’s claims were accurate.
‘It is admitted that after the November election, the 45th President exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect, since with very few exceptions, under the convenient guise of Covid-19 pandemic “safeguards” states election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures,’ the lawyers wrote. ‘Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false. Like all Americans, the 45th President is protected by the First Amendment’