Special Counsel Argues Trump Shouldn't Shift Blame for Jan. 6 Riot at Trial

High-Stakes Legal Battle Unfolds Amidst Political Turmoil

by Zain ul Abedin
Special Counsel Argues Trump Shouldn't Shift Blame for Jan. 6 Riot at Trial
© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a recent court filing, special counsel Jack Smith vehemently argued that former President Donald Trump should not be allowed to make "irrelevant" claims targeting President Joe Biden or attempt to shift blame onto others for the January 6 Capitol riot during his federal election interference trial.

Smith's filing, submitted on Wednesday, highlighted the importance of maintaining the trial's integrity and preventing it from becoming a platform for partisan political attacks and disinformation. Smith's legal team asserted that Trump has indicated his intent to undermine the investigation's integrity by promoting false claims, such as a nonexistent "coordination with the Biden administration" and other baseless allegations that rely on anonymous sources in newspaper articles.

The special counsel further contended that Trump should be prohibited from using terminology like the "Injustice Department" or "Biden Indictment" in front of the jury.

Trump's Defenses Under Scrutiny

Trump, who pleaded not guilty to criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in a "criminal scheme" to overturn the 2020 election results, has consistently denied any wrongdoing, characterizing the charges as politically motivated persecution.

Smith's filing criticized Trump for conducting a fact-free disinformation campaign to discredit the indictment. The special counsel emphasized the need to exclude such disinformation from the trial, which could potentially delay its anticipated March 4 start date as U.S.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan has stayed proceedings pending the appeals process. Moreover, Smith argued against Trump's potential claims of being misled by foreign disinformation about the election or attributing the January 6 riot to foreign disinformation campaigns.

The special counsel pointed out that Trump has provided no evidence supporting the theory that foreign influence, rather than his false statements, motivated the rioters on January 6. Smith's team reiterated that regardless of other factors, Trump remains responsible for the lies he told to his followers and the alleged illegal actions he took to maintain power.

Trump's Accountability Challenge

Another aspect Smith urged the court to prevent is Trump's attempt to blame law enforcement or D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for the lack of Capitol protection on January 6, 2021. The filing compared this scenario to a bank robber blaming the security guard or a fraud defendant, claiming that victims should have been more cautious, emphasizing that Trump cannot shift responsibility for the violence and obstruction he is accused of inciting.

Previously, the Supreme Court denied Smith's request to address Trump's claims of immunity from prosecution in the federal election interference case immediately, allowing a federal appeals court to take up the matter first.

This decision could potentially lead to a delay in the trial, initially scheduled for March 4. As the legal battle unfolds, how the court will address these critical arguments surrounding Trump's trial remains to be seen. Stay tuned for updates on this high-profile case.