Donald Trump’s legal representative, John Lauro, has characterized the latest indictment against the ex-president as a targeted assault on freedom of speech and political engagement. Speaking on CNN Tuesday night, Lauro claimed the move was a plot to suppress Trump’s free speech, not just criminalize it.
Lauro explained that following the 2020 presidential election, Trump had been informed about voting inconsistencies, and he noticed real-time changes in the rules without state legislatures’ input. The former president was acting on legal advice from John Eastman, who devised a plan aimed at retaining Trump’s power, Lauro stated.
Regarding Trump’s Thursday court appearance, Lauro mentioned that the decision on whether it would be virtual or in-person in Washington would be up to the presiding judge.
The reaction to Trump’s newest indictment reflects the divided political sentiment in the U.S. The big question is will a trial happen during the primaries, or will a trial be held off until after the 2024 election in November?
On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries described the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot as a tragic day in American history, accusing Trump of engineering it with misleading claims.
However, many Republican congress members, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have criticized the indictment and questioned its timing. McCarthy expressed his views on the social platform X, formerly Twitter, connecting the accusation to a distraction from recent scrutiny of President Joe Biden’s son. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York labeled the indictment an unlawful interference in the 2024 election, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remained publicly silent on Tuesday night.
The judge for Trump’s Jan. 6 case is U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, known for her firm stance against Capitol rioters and a history of ruling against Trump. Nominated by President Obama, Judge Chutkan has often delivered prison sentences in Jan. 6, 2021, riot cases surpassing what Justice Department prosecutors suggested. Her previous rulings against Trump in another Jan. 6 case are also noteworthy as the legal proceedings unfold.