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Trump should not be allowed to blame others for Jan. 6 riots during trial: special counsel

Jack Smith submitted a brief to the court on Wednesday.

Donald Trump should not be allowed to make “irrelevant” claims targeting President Joe Biden or that others are responsible for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot during his trial for federal election interference, a special prosecutor Jack Smith wrote in a court filing Wednesday.

“Through public statements, documents and arguments during court hearings, the defense has attempted to inject partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial questions into this case that have no place in a trial before a jury,” the filing states.

“While the court can recognize these efforts for what they are and ignore them, the jury — if subject to it — cannot do so,” he continues. “The court should not allow the defendant to turn the courtroom into a forum in which he spreads irrelevant misinformation, and should reject his attempt to inject politics into these proceedings.”

Special prosecutor says Trump suggested ‘he intended to undermine the integrity of the investigation by raising completely false allegations such as the government’s lack of ‘coordination’ with the Biden administration and other meaningless allegations recycled from the selective and vindictive prosecution motion on which he relied. on anonymous sources in newspaper articles.

Smith’s team also argues in the filing that Trump should be prohibited from using “terminology such as ‘Department of Injustice,’ ‘Biden Indictment,’ or similar expressions” in front of the jury .

In August, Trump pleaded not guilty to criminal charges brought by the special prosecutor for engaging in a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a list of so-called “fake voters,” using the department of Justice to carry out a “simulated electoral crime”. “, trying to enlist the vice president to “change the election results,” and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the January 6 riots raged – all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power. power.

The former president has denied any wrongdoing and denounced the accusations as “persecution of a political opponent.”

In his filing Wednesday, Smith accuses Trump of engaging in a fact-free public disinformation campaign to discredit the indictment that he says should not taint his criminal trial, which could be delayed from its scheduled start date is March 4. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, has stayed proceedings in the case while the appeal proceeds.

The special counsel also argues that Trump should be barred from claiming that he was personally misled by foreign disinformation about the election or that foreign disinformation campaigns led to the Jan. 6 riots.

“To begin with, the defendant has not cited a single piece of evidence indicating that foreign influence – rather than his own lies – motivated the January 6 rioters,” Smith’s team said. “And in any event, the fact that others — whether civilians or foreign actors — have said false things on the Internet does not exonerate the accused from the lies he told. to his supporters or the criminal measures he took to illegally retain power.”

Another area the special counsel says Trump should be prevented from raising is blaming law enforcement or Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for failing to protect the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“A bank robber cannot defend himself by accusing the bank security guard of failing to arrest him,” the filing states. “A fraud defendant cannot claim to the jury that his victims should have known better than to fall for his scheme. And the defendant cannot claim that law enforcement should have prevented the fraud. violence he provoked and the obstruction he intended to do.”

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court rejected Smith’s request to immediately consider Trump’s claims of immunity from prosecution in his federal election interference case. In a one-line order, the justices declined to grant a writ of certiorari before ruling, meaning they will allow a federal appeals court to hear the case first, which the Trump’s legal team had urged the court to do so.

The ruling effectively keeps the Supreme Court out of the case for now and could mean the March 4 trial date could be delayed.

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