Trump Can’t Defend Himself by Saying He Believed Fraud Lies, Legal Minds Say

Two highly respected legal experts stated that former President Donald Trump can’t be acquitted from any possible indictment in connection to the attack on Capitol. They argue that he believed his false claims of election corruption and were genuinely believing them.

Laurence Tribe is a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, while Dennis Aftergut is a former federal prosecutor, and is currently counsel to Lawyers Defending American Democracy. made the argument in a joint op-ed for The HillPublished on Thursday evening. The experts stated that a claim to sincere belief in errant 2020 election fraud cannot serve as a reasonable defense if Trump is charged for his actions leading up and on January 6, 2021 when a mob of his loyalists attacked Congress during its certificate of the results of the Electoral College elections.

Trump could be facing prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ). According to statements by Attorney General Merrick Garland The DOJ is closely monitoring the January 6 public hearings, and could make an appropriate prosecutorial decision based upon the evidence that the panel presents.

The DOJ could decide to charge Trump with a crime. Trump might argue that he believed his own election fraud claims and that his attempts at overturning the election were justified. Tribe and Aftergut say such an argument isn’t legally plausible.

The idea that “Trump lacked the ‘criminal intent’ necessary for conviction because he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong” is “incorrect,” the two legal minds wrote in their piece, because the law “distinguishes between refusing to accept inconvenient truth to get your way and mental disturbance sufficient to excuse illegality, between adopting strategic blindness and not knowing your facts from a hole in the ground.”

Trump frequently heard from his aides — both on the campaign and within his administration — that his fraud claims were inaccurate. Former attorney general William Barr described them under oath to the January 6 committee as “bullshit.”The former president chose to ignore the advice from his aides and pursue actions that many claim were illegal.

It doesn’t matter if Trump believed those claims. Tribe and Aftergut said. The former president’s actions aren’t justified by his beliefs because there’s a process to address those complaints that don’t require illegal activities.

Trump and his associates pursued the legal route, asking numerous courts to give him more time to prove fraud. In each instance, the courts found that his claims were baseless.

“An elected official doesn’t get to strong-arm others to have them violate the law, even if he genuinely believes that pervasive voter fraud turned an election,” the duo wrote. Losses in court cases didn’t give Trump the right to say “I’m going to stay in power anyway,” they added.

While Garland is considering whether to file legal action against Trump or any other conspirators to overturn it, most Americans realize that Trump was at least partially responsible for the violence of Jan 6. A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 57 percent of Americans believe Trump bears some or a lot of responsibility for that day’s violence, while only 35 percent say he doesn’t. When asked if elected representatives should be subject to prosecution by the DOJ if trying to overturn an electoral result, 67 per cent responded.