During multiple media appearances on Sunday, Donald Trump's attorney defended the former president's right to petition the federal government under the 1st Amendment.
John Lauro joined Trump's legal team to handle the most recent indictment related to his alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He stated that the charges that include Trump's alleged participation in the riot on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol represent "an effort to prevent President Trump from running for president" in the 2024 election, as The Daily Wire reported.
Lauro stated, "What we have here is political speech where President Trump is petitioning the government."
Trump was indicted on four counts last week by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., for allegedly challenging President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Trump was charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, Obstruction of an Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, and Conspiracy Against Rights by the Department of Justice.
Lauro stated that he and Trump have argued that the indictment brought against him violates his rights under the First Amendment.
“All of the examples in this indictment are core political speech,” Lauro said. “Every single thing that President Trump is being prosecuted for involves aspirational asks — asking state legislatures, asking state governors, asking state electoral officials to do the right thing.”
"In fact, even asking Vice President [Mike] Pence was protected by the right to free speech," he added. "None of that is illegal."
President Trump's attorney John Lauro: "Make no mistake about it, this is effort to prevent President Trump from running for president." pic.twitter.com/ciAPfac63n
— MAGA War Room (@MAGAIncWarRoom) August 6, 2023
Special Counsel Jack Smith, whose office is investigating Donald Trump, reportedly referred to the events of January 6 as a "unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy."
“It was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election,” Smith said.
Trump has denied any misconduct and characterized the indictment as "election interference."
Lauro asserts that in the run-up to and aftermath of the midterm elections of 2022, President Biden made repeated statements about a plan to prevent his predecessor from running for reelection. Trump currently leads the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
Biden addressed the media following the midterm elections of 2022, telling reporters, “We just have to demonstrate that he will not take power by, if we, if he does run. I’m making sure he, under legitimate efforts of our Constitution, does not become the next president again.”
Lauro indicated, in the context of Biden's remarks, that the Justice Department is executing the so-called president's plan.
“Ironically, the same theories that are being used in this indictment against President Trump could be used against President Biden for enlisting his Justice Department,” Lauro told Fox News.